ethan-johnson-paintingForestry Commission Scotland (FCS) and social enterprise company Light Bulb Arts are encouraging teachers and outdoor educators to be more adventurous in the woodlands with the launch of a new woodland activity book for children with autism and severe and complex learning difficulties.

FCS and Light Bulb Arts which delivers a range of art classes in Edinburgh, based on sound experience in education and community settings, worked with pupils and teachers at St. Crispin’s Special School, Edinburgh to develop the woodland activity book with the children as part of FCS’s Engagement programme.  The woodland activity book offers teachers and outdoor educators ideas to help develop children’s confidence in the woodland through art.

The woodland activity book is packed full of ideas and information for outdoor play and learning, such as outdoor painting, clay and collage activities, den building and bush craft skills, to help deliver creative outdoor learning experiences.

FCS’s Engagement Programme works with communities to encourage and support a diverse range of minority groups access and enjoy the benefits of their local woodland.  FCS and Light Bulb Arts hope to encourage children who wouldn’t usually be comfortable going out into the woodlands, such as children with severe and complex learning difficulties and autism, to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.

Romena Huq, Engagement Officer for Forestry Commission Scotland said:

“A key element of our work is about encouraging people of all abilities and backgrounds to experience woodlands and greenspace.  We hope the woodland activity book will help build teachers confidence when facilitating outdoor learning sessions and allow the children to experience their local woodlands.

“It’s been fantastic working with Heather from Light Bulb Arts and Julia Marshall, St.Crispin’s Special School, forest school leader, they were key to the creation of the woodland activity book, Forestry Commission Scotland thank them both and St.Crispin’s Special School for their ongoing support of the Engagement programme.”

david-valev-paintingHeather Lucchesi, Director of Light Bulb Arts said:

“The woodland activity book offers teachers, outdoor educators and parents a starting point to encourage children to move around the woods and to help build their confidence.  New environments can be daunting for children with autism and serve and complex learning difficulties so the activity book provides easy to follow guidance and tips to make the woodland more accessible.

“One boy who joined us was particularly anxious the first few times he visited the woodlands but now he’s taking the lead and you can see his confidence has grown.  The children learned to love the outdoors and enjoy their time away from the classroom; it’s great to see them thrive in a new environment.”

If you are interested in finding out more about the woodland activity book please contact Romena Huq, Engagement Officer for Forestry Commission Scotland romena.huq@forestry.gsi.gov.uk or Heather Lucchesi, Director of Light Bulb Arts Heather@lightbulbarts.com.