Natural Alternative 

Holistic intervention within nature, aimed at individual children currently attending pupil referral units, or having difficulties within the mainstream school environment.
Many studies, and our track record, demonstrates the wide ranging positive outcomes of working alongside children and young people within a wild natural environment.
We work with learners of both primary and secondary ages out in our woodlands.

Holistic Intervention Within Nature

Green Light Trust’s holistic approach to intervention and nurture uses nature as our classroom to support the development of social and emotional intelligence.

Our Natural Alternative programmes include:

  • A pedagogy which holds each individual’s well-being central to their learning.
  • An aim to build emotional resilience and confidence within nature, whilst balancing each child’s needs and interests.
  • Regular weekly sessions which are learner-led and encourage exploration of the woodland environment.
  • Facilitation by a specialist team with experience of working closely with children with SEND or mental health needs, autistic children and social and emotional behaviour challenges.
  • On-going communication and termly evaluation of each child’s progress and needs.

Our team have a child-centred approach to learning; along with teaching qualifications, Forest School training and a deep understanding of woodland ecology. This enables the children to gain new skills and increase engagement both in the woodland setting and back at school. 

What we do

At Green Light trust we take learners from their ‘normal’ environment with their usual environmental cues, and introduce them to a woodland space where they can start to develop positive change patterns of behaviour and start to identify with that personality.

We carry out age-appropriate woodland management tasks, green woodworking, campfire cooking, natural crafts, games and nature connection activities.

In turn this experience develops many life skills.

Such as-

  • Communication skills
  • Fine and gross motor skills
  • Team work
  • Leadership skills
  • Creative and divergent thinking
  • Understanding community
  • Respect
  • Resilience
  • Reflection
  • Empathy
  • Building self-worth and a sense of belonging
  • Values
  • Engagement
  • Assessing risks

What the learners do

The woodland environment is rich with inspiration and the resources to build, create, experiment, explore and develop; which, in turn, develops physical, social and emotional skills.
The days are planned, on a weekly basis, to follow the participants’ interests and needs. We always start with a short walk, lighting a campfire and something to eat. Depending on the season and the needs of the group the rest of the day could include learning safe tool use, whittling spoons, learning to identify fauna and flora, foraging for wild plants or building tree houses. The learners are supported to develop community; a place they go to and feel a deep sense of belonging, which in turn builds self-worth and understanding of others' needs. Learners can often be seen in a new way, unveiling hidden skills and qualities.

Our Learning Environment

The natural environment provides the perfect space for this personal growth to happen; the natural rhythm of the woods enables learners' minds to slow down to match it.
We work together on tasks that are mindful, purposeful and fun. Tasks where learners can allow their creativity to come to the fore. It is an environment that helps re-affirm that we are part of nature, not separate from it. The natural environment is also excellent for building resilience in our learners; being outside in all weathers and still managing to enjoy our days.
The woodland environment gives learners the opportunity to do things they didn’t know they were capable of, confidence starts to grow and the learners start to succeed. Once this process begins then the possibilities seem to open up in front of them and, with the support needed, they are enabled to have the courage to take them.

Outcomes observed by staff include

  • The ability to work as a team for the benefit of the group 
  • A reduction in emotional outbursts  
  • Understanding of how to stay safe and self-manage risks 
  • The ability to articulate emotional needs 
  • Respect for and interest in the natural environment 
  • Peer-to peer support (e.g. older children supporting younger ones) 
  • Improved self-confidence and ability to make ideas into reality 
  • Increased timetables
  • Improved attendance
  • More engagement within class

Teachers' quotes

“Mrs S is pleased that she chose H to take part. He rises more readily to challenges and uses positive and encouraging language to support his peers…He is more confident and eager to share his weekly experiences. He has been chosen to be a sports leader at lunch time and has won merit badges for his conduct and learning”

“Y’s people skills and the ability to take charge of a situation is shining through and he can communicate what the problem is in a calmer way”

“L is a sensitive girl and gets het up with other people’s problems. With this experience she appears happier and confident in herself”

“J is more self-assured and is very proud of his achievements. He is increasing links to his learning and loves being outside in a learning environment”

“K is less tearful when faced with a challenging situation and is more confident to ask an adult for support”

What to Bring

It’s important that the children feel comfortable as well as safe.

We would like the children to come prepared for the day - it’s always cooler in the woods!

Please bring:

  • Waterproof trousers and jacket – the trousers allow the children to get dirty, then remove the waterproofs to reveal clean, dry clothes underneath! A must for transport and heading back to school.
  • Warm socks – one thin pair and one thick pair while the weather is cool. A spare pair of socks in a bag is always useful!
  • Wellies or walking boots. Even when dry there might be a shallow stream to paddle in!
  • A hat: woolly if cold and a sun hat if hot!
  • Old clothes – jogging bottoms (even if it’s hot as it protects their legs), t-shirt, fleece and maybe even an extra layer in their bag just in case.

No need to bring a packed lunch as we will be cooking together on the fire each day.

Contact us  more information or to discuss your needs.