Children reap benefits from outdoor play session

Pre-school children with additional needs have enjoyed a fun and inspiring day of play at a local woodland in Bradley Stoke.

The event was organised by Portage home visitors who are part of the council’s 0 to 25 disability service. It took place last week at Savages Wood as part of National Portage Awareness Week to help raise the profile of the work of the practitioners who provide a home-visiting educational service for pre-school children with additional support needs and their families.

The forest school session was arranged for the children who enjoyed a range of activities including exploring a sensory area within the woodland, bubble trails, a mud kitchen, a climbing tree, and collecting activities. At the end of the forest play session, the group came together around a fire pit singing songs and toasting marshmallows.

Portage Home Visitor Jeanette Walker, who works with the families, said: “A fabulous session, we enjoyed it as much as the children and their families. Our service is a home education programme for pre-school aged children with additional needs. Children are visited in their own homes as this is the ideal environment for children to learn.

“We also run structured groups and outdoor learning sessions as an opportunity for families to meet and support each other. We were thrilled to be joined by so many of the families’ with whom we work. A variety of activities to suit all of our children’s learning needs were available, the most fun being had with pouring water in the mud kitchen area, with parents joining in too. It’s a pleasure to be able to offer such a rich and valuable learning experience to all our children.”

Some of the comments from parents who attended the session are below:
“Meeting other families at groups and events such as the Forest session today is great to be with people in the same situation, no one judges you, you can just feel normal everyone is so supportive and great to be able to share experiences and celebrate all the children’s successes,” said Vicky Colegate, mum to 20 month old Joseph.

“Forest session has been really lovely, Evie and Ted loved it, had a really good time. Evie has been non-stop chattering, it was fab thank you,” said Sharlotte Knapp from Stoke Gifford.

“Really good fun, Ava had a great time in the woods, lots of different activities, great to get outside and do something different, she loved getting messy!” Ali Smith, from Emersons Green, mum to Ava who is three years and 10 months old.

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