Charity launches to connect young children with nature

A charity has launched to offer primary school aged children access to open spaces and nature.

Children with anxiety, who have suffered trauma and are struggling to engage in education are being targeted by the New Leaf Learning charity and being offered “safe spaces to thrive” outdoors.

The Northamptonshire based charity has been launched followed trials across the county over the last two years and is the home of the TRUST programme, which stands for trying, resilience, understanding, self-regulation and teamwork.

Activities are taking place at Courteenhall Estate, South Northamptonshire, which is hosting and helping to pay for the programme, with activities like den building and yoga taking place in its grounds.

“NHS England statistics show that 18% of children aged 7-16 years have a mental health disorder. It means that teachers are working in classrooms where one in five children may be unable to access education. The impact on the future working population is immense,” said New Leaf Learning founder Alex Preston.

“We pride ourselves on being a unique resource and offering the opportunity for children to engage in a variety of activities in the beautiful outdoor setting of the Courteenhall Estate.

“Our programme puts the child at the centre, truly supports parents and carers, and ensures that schools use trauma-informed strategies to engage all children in their learning.

“We use nature-based learning because it is a powerful tool which can improve the children’s skills of resilience, effort, empathy, understanding, self-regulation and teamwork.”

The charity’s chair Johnny Wake, who is managing partner of Courteenhall Farms, added: “I’m really proud to be part of this amazing charity having seen the real difference it makes to individual children in Northamptonshire.”

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