So I’ve been at Running Deer for almost six months and they’ve definitely been the most rewarding six months of work I have done this far. In the short time that I have been there, I’ve seen the children that we work with improve in their own individual ways and accomplish things that they are proud off.
Since it is spring I have reflected over what the winter was like and where the students at running deer are at now in comparison to where they were and I was impressed with the progress that they have made. It is almost as if they, much like the woodland and the wildlife, are thriving as individuals.The journey for some have been easier than others but it is really worth the hard work and efforts of staff – it makes a visible difference for the children.
Early morning bliss
It’s really nice coming in the morning and getting the fire going in camp; it becomes the centre of life for the woods and gives the camp a more welcoming vibe. This welcome feeling is obvious because the children come in the morning seeming settled, or at least the majority of them, and we all gather together which I believe gives them a sense of belonging and feeling safe while they are there.
The atmosphere is always friendly and I enjoy the relationship that staff have with the children because it allows for genuine and open communication where we talk as humans. It also helps that we don’t have a formal structure in the what we do on a daily basis, apart from tutoring sessions, instead we are flexible which allows for children to adapt and learn new things at their own pace, taking on new challenges.
The young people also take part in the John Muir Award which enables them to go out into nature and identify why that area is worth protecting and why that area is special to them before they go on to teach others about it or make their own project.
Approach to education
Our approach to education seems a much better way of teaching and they are happier for it. One case of this where one young person that I work with likes to take a walk from our woods to the adjacent woods via the road. He has taken to looking at the life in the hedgerows, which is in abundance at this time of year – in particular the plant life. This young person loves to learn about different uses for the plants and it is great to see them interested.
Discovering new things
This week we found a really awesome looking grub that we unfortunately couldn’t identify but we had great fun speculating what it could be. It is also great to explore new woodland areas with this young person because he has learnt a lot since starting and he enjoys telling staff the information on the trees and the wildlife that he has been taught.
I feel like this term will be an exciting one and I can’t wait to see what it holds.