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Dreamcatchers During Winter Lockdown

On a cold and damp Saturday morning you may not expect to see a small group of children toasting marshmallows around a camp fire, or discussing favourite foods whilst planting succulents, but Guideposts’ group of Dreamcatchers were doing just that in the middle of winter lockdown. Dreamcatchers Forest School is one service we have been able to open over the last couple of months, and we’re very happy to be enjoying the outdoors together.

The newest member of the group is quieter than the others, but has a contented smile as he works away making a beautifully neat woollen plant-pot decoration, in carefully chosen colours.  

Contrast with James who spends a few minutes layering up a jam jar for his succulent’s terrarium, then runs around a few times and jumps out of some corners (because the polytunnel is a pirate ship) before decorating a plant-pot so quickly that I blinked and missed it. 

Each child has the space and opportunity to express their own character at Dreamcatchers Forest School.

Why do the children like coming here?

Our newest joiner, Max, has only been a few times, but loves it already.  After his first session, he came home really proud of what he had made.  When his mum asked if she wanted to go the following week, he answered “Yes, yes!”.  

Mum has been coping with serious illness that went on to impact her mental health, so her son has been acting as a young carer for her.  When Dreamcatchers was suggested to them, they felt it might be a good fit as Max loves the outdoors, being out on his bike, and making things.

Even after just a few weeks, Max’s mum says “It’s great to see the impact on him afterwards: smiling and happy. It’s really helped him. And if my son’s happy, I’m happy.” 

Two brothers have been coming for several years. Their dad says “They love the freedom, getting dirty, digging holes and doing all the things they can’t do at home.” One of them particularly likes to keep moving and doesn’t stop talking from dawn til dusk, so it gives his parents a little break as well.  

Sarah is also a long-standing member of Dreamcatchers. “She loves being able to express herself in an environment where she feels so comfortable. She has made so many creations with you, she always comes out feeling proud and with a beaming smile” says his mum.

Making Connections

“Connecting with other people at the moment is the key to everything” as one mum says.

This morning our Dreamcatchers leader, Helen, is encouraging more connection between the group, comparing their favourite foods, and how they express themselves.

“It’s really lovely to hear the kids talking to each other. We ask them to express themselves as a group and then they continue a conversation between each other.” she says.

We learn that Sarah loves Yorkshire pudding, and that she made one with her Gran once. Her mum shared a picture of it on social media and the chef James Martin liked it! We learn that one of them likes to knit and has knitted the scarf he is wearing, and that another expresses herself through singing and wants to be a fashion designer.

We also learn their musical preferences: who likes the Baby Shark song, or the song that has been requested for the Guideposts radio show this week! They may disagree with each other, but that’s fine, we can’t all like the same things. It’s a very positive experience for everyone to have a natter and express their thoughts and have a giggle at different likes and dislikes!

We are proud to support children to better wellbeing through outdoor learning, thanks to Children In Need and the great work of Helen Clarke and her team at the Outdoor Wellbeing Hub.

Dreamcatchers Forest School supports children aged 5-15 who have a disability or are on the SEND register, and children with social, emotional and Mental Health problems (SEMH).

If you are interested in finding out more see https://guideposts.org.uk/services/dreamcatchers-forest-school/

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