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A picture of our Parkend Site with three dens set up and the hammock

HARE - Holistic. Accessible. Regenerative. Education

Nurturing Families in Nature

HARE nurtures the well-being of families in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, through holistic experiential learning and regenerating community. We achieve this by creative engagement with nature, crafts and mindfulness.  We offer a package of intergenerational sessions based on connection to the natural environment using Forest School principals, yoga, mindfulness, traditional crafts and building community.

Our Story

HARE runs workshops, courses, retreats and events for families in the Forest of Dean and surrounding areas.  Our focus is on facilitating development of health and well-being through natural crafts, gardening and mindful practices in a natural environment.  We are particularly passionate about supporting mental health and those with additional needs.  All our services are open to people from all backgrounds, and are autism and SEN friendly.  Where funding allows, we offer bursary places to make our services accessible to families on low incomes.

Our Forest School sessions run at Beaver Lodge, Whitecroft road, Parkend, Lydney, Glos, GL15 4HG. 

Weekly Sessions

On Monday mornings we run Forest Play, a woodland Stay & Play for parent & babies/children aged around 0-6 years.

On Monday afternoons we run a Forest School Workshop for Home Educating children 8-12 years.

On Tuesday evenings we run a slow flow yoga class for women in Cinderford.

On Wednesday mornings we run free Nurture in Nature Walks for parents at home with babies and young children.

We run children's forest workshops during the school holidays for 6-12 years and monthly family workshops we call Family Forest Gatherings, where the whole family can enjoy the benefits of nature, together. 

 

We also run weekly school gardening clubs, weekly Forest School workshops in local schools and work with other local organisations.

We run a welly and waterproof library to help more families get outdoors.

 We are currently developing new services for 2024, including, mini wellness retreats, camps, specific SEN and advocacy services and a women's circle.

Our Approach

Our approach is based on human developmental theory, including the Montessori method, Steiner and Reggio Emilia along with contemporary psychology.  We include a mix of yoga philosophy, mindfulness, gardening, plant knowledge, arts and creativity, embedded in a foundation of our primary philosophy: Forest School & Nature Pedagogy.  We mix this with each of our core team member's own unique experiences of nature, parenting and our personal journeys with mental health and self-development, to create holistic offerings which support the well-being of local families.

 

Forest school is not just for children.  It is a human development philosophy which sits on the shoulders of a hundred years of educational, psychological, environmental and developmental research and theory. It is equally beneficial for children and adults of all ages.

We are particularly inspired by Forest School, Montessori and Reggio Emilia because they:

  • are person-centred approaches

  • are responsive to the needs and interests of the learner

  • understand that learning happens through play, curiosity and investigation (yes, even adults can learn through play)

  • focus on holistic development: physical, social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, communication

  • trust children's innate drive to learn and develop

  • focus on creating the right conditions for learning, rather than 'top down' teaching 

  • promote the importance of community and interaction with others for learning and well-being

  • promote adults leading by example: teaching by authentically demonstrating the conduct we wish children to learn

  • focus on humans' connection with and understanding of nature, other humans and animals and our place in the universe

  • use observation and reflection to better understand learners'/participants' needs and interests, and to develop the environment and the setting in response

  • focus on honest, authentic reflective practice as a tool for service development

 

Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.

The adults lead our Forest School workshops by facilitating, guiding and inspiring. Through all our sessions we aim to improve the health and well-being of parents and children by creating an environment which:

  • Challenges children's physical capabilities

  • Fosters curiosity, awe and wonder

  • Encourages investigation and problem solving

  • Develops a meaningful connection with nature

  • Is play-based (for children and adults!)

  • Is experiential and sensory

  • Supports independence, responsibility, resilience, self-care and mindfulness

  • Encourages care of and respect for other humans, creatures and the environment

  • Facilitates supportive, nurturing, intergenerational relationships & community

  • Enables being as well as doing

Approach

HARE's Aims

As a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (CIC) we aim to benefit the community and in particular to improve the mental health and well-being of local families.

Objectives: 

  • Build confidence, self-esteem, emotional resilience and re-energise the spirit.

  • Strengthen social skills, relationships, community and connectedness with each other and nature.

  • To enable individuals, families, and communities to thrive now and in the future.

We achieve this through:

  • Creating safe, nurturing spaces for families and communities.

  • Meaningful connection to the natural world, mindfulness and restorative yoga practices.

  • Learning crafts, traditions, celebrations, storytelling, art and music.

  • Learning practical skills in Forest School and edible gardens.

  • Exploring and understanding the restorative nature of soil, plants and trees.

Approach

How HARE Began

HARE was originally created in Autumn 2022 by specialist SEN teacher Georgie Chadwick, in collaboration with Forest School Leader & SEN support teacher Susie, Montessori Teacher & Yoga Teacher Charlie, and artist Tanya.  Four friends who have a love of nature and the outdoors and a passion for providing holistic activities to improve the mental health and well-being of families. You can read more about how HARE began in our blog post Synchronicity with the Seasons.

See our Meet the Team page to find out more about our team.

Approach
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