[Bio] Diversity in picture books
Muddy Puddle Club Blog
by Lizzie
1y ago
Representation matters because it shapes how minorities view themselves and how they are viewed by society. Outdoor educators often use picture books as part of their practice when working with young children. At home my picture books represent all kinds of people and families, it's a wonderful way to expose children to diversity, increase representation and make children feel like they belong. I have below included some nature-based books with diverse characters and themes which I recommend to Forest School and other Outdoor Education leaders to include in their kit. Some are overtly about d ..read more
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Place Pedagogy and Lockdown
Muddy Puddle Club Blog
by Lizzie
1y ago
It's been a while since I last wrote a blog post and here we are again, back in lockdown. I thought it would be a great time to share with you some interesting research that was conducted about nature connection in the first one back in March last year. It was surprising in many ways, but one of the most beautiful things to come out of it was watching more and more people connecting with nature. Most of you know I am currently studying a Masters in Outdoor Education. The essay I am writing at the moment is about Place Pedagogy. In simple terms, Place Pedagogy is about creating connections betw ..read more
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Writing an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy and Action PLan for your Forest School
Muddy Puddle Club Blog
by Lizzie
1y ago
When I was researching last weeks blog post about Pride in Outdoor Learning I discovered how few Forest School setting had a separate equality policy. The ones I did find said something along the lines of 'we will include everyone regardless of their race, sexuality gender...' but didn't go as far as to say they would actively encourage and celebrate diversity within their workforce or within their groups. I found a couple from nursery Forest School settings which mentioned celebrating different cultures through food, which is wonderful. There was also a lot about inclusion of children with sp ..read more
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Why We Need Pride in Outdoor Learning
Muddy Puddle Club Blog
by Lizzie
1y ago
I am writing this blog post for Pride month 2020 as an opener for a larger conversation about LGBTQ+ youth and adults, their access to outdoor learning, the issues that still present themselves, how belonging and a sense of community can help us all to find out who we are and then ask questions about how we can increase representation in outdoor learning leaders. This is my story and a reflection of how things have developed and changed since I was a teenager 20 years ago. I hope this will be a springboard for us all to deepen our understanding further by opening up the doors to more LGBTQ+ vo ..read more
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It's the little things that matter most sometimes
Muddy Puddle Club Blog
by Charlie
1y ago
This is the inside of our vacated bluetit box. Two babies fledged yesterday and I saw them hanging bravely onto the jasmine plant and then dropping down to the lower branches of the little hazel tree in our garden. I knew we had heard more than two but the box was silent and the parents have moved their babies into the bush next door so I decided to clear the box up myself for a change. In a normal year we would look more closely at these dead chicks and ponder the reasons that they didn’t make it despite looking so perfect. We would have buried them and then looked in a few months at the effe ..read more
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Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing
Muddy Puddle Club Blog
by Lizzie
1y ago
Forest School leaders study a range of learning and play theorists throughout their training and then as ongoing CPD throughout their careers. Covid 19 and the lock down situation means that many families are finding that suddenly a huge pressure is placed on parents and caregivers to create stability and new learning environments at home. For many, this is new and something they haven't considered before. I am writing these posts with the aim of introducing some learning theory which may support families to understand some of the things they are seeing happening in their homes and helping us ..read more
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Rainbows and silver linings
Muddy Puddle Club Blog
by Charlie
1y ago
It has been wonderful to see how people have turned to and tuned into nature during this Covid19 pandemic. Technology has allowed us to communicate with each other in a way that means that we can share the tiniest detail of the discoveries about nature, wildlife and ourselves that we are making.  This morning, I watched a second-long snippet of an owl caught on a trail camera. Last night, I shared the footage to our local mammal group of badger families playing together that had been captured by the trail camera of another group. Over the weekend, I did two days of a First Aid Course onl ..read more
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Why Maslow Matters in the New Normal
Muddy Puddle Club Blog
by Lizzie
1y ago
What strange times we are living through, 4 weeks into lockdown and 'social distancing'. We are quickly learning how incredible local communities can be, how we can all work together to try to support and protect the most vulnerable in our society when we need it most. Forget social distancing, what we have is physical distancing and social solidarity. As we have moved into this unprecedented time at home, huge changes are taking place in everyone's lives. Very few Forest School leaders are still working and all independent Forest Schools are closed for the foreseeable. We and our families hav ..read more
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Pensdell Woods
Muddy Puddle Club Blog
by Lizzie
1y ago
When Muddy Puddle Club first began back in 2013 I had big dreams which have, slowly over the years, become reality. Hard work, passion, commitment and the deep knowledge that Forest School can make a significant impact on wellbeing, learning, environments and community. The session first developed in a small woodland in a local millennium meadow and then, in 2014, I began working at The Vyne, National Trust. This is where Charlie came and joined me for the first time. In 2015 we were invited to start working at Bramley Frith where we have successfully run 3 different sessions for under 6's and ..read more
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Schemas in Forest School and Outdoor Play
Muddy Puddle Club Blog
by Lizzie
1y ago
Let's geek out on Piaget! In a previous post I wrote about our workshop at the Forest School conference which explored how understanding play theory would help parents and caregivers foster stronger attachments with their children. I touched on Play Schemas and how we can facilitate their development at Forest School. In this post I will look further into this, how it applies at Forest School and other types of outdoor, play based learning. In order to start thinking about Schemas we need to know a little bit about Jean Piaget, a psychologist who specialised in child theory from the 1920s onwa ..read more
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