;

New outdoor classroom finished and ready to use!

16 February, 2018

We are pleased to announce that the building of our new outdoor classroom at our Environment Centre in Eltham has been completed and is now ready to use.

With the generous support of Thomas Cook Children’s Charity, the Metropolitan Masonic Charitable Trust and Green Hall Foundation; we have been able to transform an unused and overgrown piece of land to create a new accessible learning environment. The outdoor classroom will increase opportunities for children and young people to experience nature and immerse themselves in a range of outdoor learning activities.

Jack Gower, Centre Manager, said “We are delighted to have received such amazing support from funders to get this built. Since its construction, we have used the outdoor classroom as an inspirational learning space to teach children about plants, lifecycles, habitats and the weather. The space allows us to stay outdoors in weather that before would have meant we would have to go back to the indoor classrooms. We look forward to using the outdoor classroom with thousands of school children visiting over the coming years.”

Most recent first

  • New outdoor classroom finished and ready to use! 16 February 2018  

    We are pleased to announce that the building of our new outdoor classroom at our Environment Centre in Eltham has been completed and is now ready to use.

    With the generous support of Thomas Cook Children’s Charity, the Metropolitan Masonic Charitable Trust and Green Hall Foundation; we have been able to transform an unused and overgrown piece of land to create a new accessible learning environment. The outdoor classroom will increase opportunities for children and young people to experience nature and immerse themselves in a range of outdoor learning activities.

    Jack Gower, Centre Manager, said “We are delighted to have received such amazing support from funders to get this built. Since its construction, we have used the outdoor classroom as an inspirational learning space to teach children about plants, lifecycles, habitats and the weather. The space allows us to stay outdoors in weather that before would have meant we would have to go back to the indoor classrooms. We look forward to using the outdoor classroom with thousands of school children visiting over the coming years.”

  • Encouraging birds at the Woodland Centre 06 February 2018  

    Since September 2014, we have been transforming the Wide Horizons Woodland Centre from a disused, fly-tipped and overgrown woodland into an inspirational space for outdoor learning. This has involved removing three skips of rubbish from the site, clearing areas for children to explore and creating paths to join them up. This work has been completed entirely by local volunteers and visiting groups with the support of Wide Horizons staff.

    In August last year we were lucky enough to have a visit from two volunteers representing the RSPB Bexley Local Group who conducted a bird survey for us. Nicky Wilson and Donna Zimmer recorded a total of 13 bird species which included the Long-Tailed Tit, Green Woodpecker and Wrens.

    Nicky and Donna also made some suggestions for encouraging further species on the site including having some low level feeders. Wide Horizons tutors will work with visiting students to follow these recommendations and then observe any changes.

    Read the full report here

    For more information about the RSPB Bexley Local Group contact Stuart Banks, visit their webpage or follow them on social media: Facebook and Twitter.

  • New CPD Dates 04 October 2017  

    Wide Horizons train over 600 teachers every year. Our unique range of courses can help you further develop your current programmes and educational visits, support learning outside the classroom, and keep your skills up to date with the latest methods.

    Join us for an incredible Continuing Professional Development session for Teachers! Click here to learn more and book your session

  • A team of volunteers helped us get a piece of overgrown land ready for children to use. 04 October 2017  

       

    This summer, a team of volunteers arrived at our Horton Kirby centre, ready for a day of mowing, ploughing and seeding, all helping to get a piece of overgrown land ready for children to use. Volunteers from A Plant, Loxston Groundcare, P Livertons and DLF all came together to transform the overgrown and unsafe land into a new area with unlimited potential for adventures!

    How this project will help children

    Now transformed, the land will provide a safe place for children as young as five to learn about the wider world around them whilst making discoveries about their own skills.

    Last year, over 8,000 children visited Horton Kirby. Of these children, 1 in 5 were growing up in poverty, often missing out on childhood experiences that many of us take for granted. Through environmentally-focused activities, even more deprived children than ever before will now be able to take part in creative and engaging experiences that will inspire them to learn about natural green spaces. As well as this, even more children will now have the opportunity to practice resilience and determination through outdoor team challenges in the new learning zone.

    We are incredibly grateful for the dedication and hard work of A Plant and friends, without whom this exciting project would simply not have been possible.

        

  • French Adventure Challenge 15 August 2017  

    Wide Horizons added a new and unique challenge to its annual programme – September 1st 2017.

    The Ardeche Adventure Challenge combines beautiful scenery with a double marathon over 2 days of a 4 day adventure.

    The first challenge involves trekking across the spectacular landscape, which includes Europe’s largest canyon, and the second, canoeing 42km along the river itself, for a completely different perspective.

    Challenge yourself, and help provide life-changing adventures for young people throughout the UK.

    Please see the Wide Horizons Ardeche Adventure Challenge web page for more details and to register your interest.

     

  • Bertie's 300 07 July 2017  
    Tom and Julie Sheldon are truly the Salt of the Earth kind of people. They are strong advocates of Wide Horizons and Tom has recently helped secure funding to develop a new activity at our Margaret McMillan House. At just 2 years old, Tom and Julie’s grandson Bertie was diagnosed with Infantile Batten Disease, a devastating neurological degenerative illness. Bertie is unable to play, feed himself, sit independently or communicate. To help his parents adapt Bertie’s living space, Tom and Julie are organising a bike ride suitable for literally the whole family. On Sunday 9th July, join us and become one of Bertie’s 300! 

    Click here to learn more

    Download the flyer

  • den 15 Outdoor Things to do in June - What's your favourite one? 26 June 2017  
    den

    Nature, Nature, Nature!

    More and more studies show the benefits of nature for mental health and wellbeing. The more time we spend outside and get involved in adventures, the better our mind and body feel. With this in mind, here are our top 15 outdoor things to do in June.

    1   Plan an adventure with your friends or family

    plan an adventure in June

    2   Create some art using natural materials

    natural art in June

    3   Find a dandelion and make a wish

    find a dandelion in June

    4   Go for a walk to recharge your batteries

    go for a walk in June

    5   Find the perfect spot to build a den

    build a den in June

    6   Sit in the sun and read your favourite book

    read a book in June

    7   Roll over a log and look for minibeasts

    look for minibeasts in June

    8   Listen to birds singing for 1 minute

    listen to birds in June

    9   Find some plants that need watering

    water the plants in June

    10   Mix mud and water and create funny potions

    mud and water in June

    11   Draw a treasure map and search for buried treasure

    treasure map in June

    12   Look for shapes in the clouds

    clouds in June

    13   Find some smelly objects and make a scent trail

    scent trail in June

    14   Find a tree you can sit in and enjoy the view

    view in June

    15   Sketch your favourite tree

    sketch a tree in June

  • Social Impact Report 2016: "The Impact of Adventure Learning" 04 June 2017  

    Wide Horizons have released the findings of our survey into the benefits of adventures for children.

    The report, supported by environmental campaigner George Monbiot, describes how children experiencing adventure see a marked change in many personal attributes with increased resilience, confidence and well-being coming out as the top areas of improvement.

    Alex Brooks-Johnson, CEO at Wide Horizons commented:

    “Last year we worked with nearly 50,000 children and so already had a good understanding of why Adventure Learning is so important, but even we were surprised with how powerful the change in children can be when they get outside and take on an adventure”

    The children surveyed undertook a series of programmes designed to improve their social and personal skills, whilst at the same time working with them to better understand some of the curriculum subjects more traditionally taught in the classroom.  The programmes included a range of adventurous activities such as climbing, canoeing and raft building, as well as more environmentally focussed sessions such as nature walks and pond dipping.

    Child-Climbing-Wall-MMHThe study showed that 92% of children saw an increase in their well-being, based on how happy they were when they finished the programme, and 90% of them were found to be more resilient.  It is this combination that the charity understands to be the most useful form a learning and development perspective.

    “When children are happy and engaged, they will be in a better position to learn.  Their self-esteem will also be boosted through the experience, and when you overlay all of that with the creative and inspirational way you can teach children outdoors it almost becomes an absolutely necessary thing to be doing during time at school”

    says Graham Agnew, former Secondary Head and Ofsted inspector and now Wide Horizons Board member.

    “In addition, Wide Horizons works hard to support disadvantaged children and so can aim specifically at helping to close the gap in performance at school between them and their peers.”

    Wide Horizons works with 355 schools a year of which three quarters have a higher than national average level of disadvantaged children. 

    Professor David Hopkins, founder of Adventure Learning Schools and Professor of Education at Bolton University commented:

    “Wide Horizons, with their focus on disadvantaged children and providing them access to this extraordinary way of learning are helping to directly address the issue of child poverty in this country, not just by providing the opportunities for education but then facilitating the improvement in life skills that aim to increase their aspirations and ultimately provide them with better chances in life.”

    Professor David Hopkins will be joining author and environmental campaigner, George Monbiot, in launching Wide Horizons Social Impact report at an event at City Hall on Wednesday night to an audience of key figures from the world of politics and education.

    George Monbiot

    George Monbiot

    George Monbiot added:

    “We live in a world where the education system is not necessarily providing our children with the experiences that will help them in life. And with all the closures of outdoor education centres happening, we may face a generation of children not having the opportunities that organisations like Wide Horizons can provide in giving access to the benefits of adventure or the natural wonder and beauty of the outdoors.”

    To find out more about the work of Wide Horizons download a copy of our Social Impact Report here, visit our website www.widehorizons.org.uk or email info@widehorizons.org.uk

  • Building Better Partnerships 25 April 2017  

    Wide Horizons have partnered with national leisure provider Better who will be supporting us in bringing adventure to disadvantaged Children.

    Better are a Charitable Social Enterprise that manage more than 250 public sport and leisure centres, 57 libraries in partnership with more than 30 local councils, public agencies as well as sporting organisations across the UK and will be sponsoring our fundraising event Nightline. The incredible summer solstice night-walk, through the striking urban landscapes of London and the gorgeous countryside of Kent, raises vital funds to help local children experience life changing adventures!

    The partnership work doesn’t stop there, with Wide Horizons delivering a number of team building events for Better staff members, including a London to Cambridge bike ride that will ultimately help Wide Horizons deliver its aim of providing adventure to everyone as part of their education and development.

    Further to this, Chris Symons, Better’s Director of Development, is running the London Marathon for Wide Horizons.

    “Wide Horizons is a great local charity. For over a decade Wide Horizons have been taking inner city children out of their urban surroundings to experience ‘adventure learning’ in the great outdoors. They run a number of day centres and residential centres without any subsidy, providing life changing social, educational and personal development for our young people” said Chris on his reasons for running for Wide Horizons.

    If you wish to Sponsor Chris on his marathon challenge please visit his Just Giving page.

  • Raise funds to improve your School grounds with the TESCO bag scheme 29 March 2017  

    Wide Horizons is proud to support a new funding opportunity for schools

    The supermarket chain Tesco and environmental charity Groundwork have joined up to provide this scheme.

    Introducing children to the wonderers of nature and the outdoors is critical for their development. Tesco Bag Funding scheme is a fantastic opportunity for schools to apply for grants between £1,000 – £4,000 to transform their outdoor space into areas, that will inspire learning and creativity.

  • Adventurous plans for Lewisham residents take shape 08 March 2017  

    The UK’s leading Adventure Learning charity, Wide Horizons, are delighted to be supporting the regeneration of Lewisham’s largest open space, Beckenham Place Park, as one of the key partners in the project.

    News that the project was successful in receiving £4.9m from the Heritage Lottery Fund was released at the end of last year and work has already started on making the park more accessible to more people than ever before.  Wide Horizons are working closely with Lewisham Council and the other project partners such as Phoenix Community Housing to ensure the project is relevant and as exciting as possible for local residents, and that the park is restored to its full glory.

    As part of the initial plans for the park’s redevelopment, volunteers have begun the planting of 15,000 trees around the edge of the ancient woodland in a project funded by the Mayor of London and the GLA. Lewisham will be calling on more volunteers to help with planting and other activities. Details can be found on their website and Facebook page, as well as park noticeboards.

    Alex Brooks-Johnson, then CEO commented,

    “I’m so happy that after many years of planning we can now see so many people enjoying the majestic beauty and natural wonder found in this amazing space.”

    He added,

    “For too long this park has been enjoyed by a lucky few, and now we can really see that there’s a much wider community appeal. Communities need access to these spaces and should know that the benefits and enjoyment to be had really are for everyone”.

    Wide Horizons will be operating an education space being built in the old stables block in Beckenham Place park, which is just one of the many developments now underway as part of the park regeneration project.

    Alex said

    “We worked closely with Lewisham to find out from local schools exactly what they wanted from the park in terms of education, and we’ll be putting together an exciting programme based on that feedback.”

    Wide Horizons have been leading the way on understanding the impact of adventure and the environment on children’s learning and development. In a recently released report, the importance of children having access to nature, the environment and adventure was highlighted by just how much children benefited from the experience.

    Head of Partnerships and Projects at Wide Horizons, Neil Munro, who led on the collection of data from children commented,

    “As a charity working with nearly 50,000 children every year; we feel we have a duty to enable them to have access to inspirational green spaces near to where they live so that once they get back from visiting one of our eight centres around the UK, they can carry on enjoying, and therefore hopefully protecting, their local natural spaces.”

    To find out more about the work of Wide Horizons including updates on developments at Beckenham Place Park and to find a copy of their Social Impact Report, visit the website www.widehorizons.org.uk or email info@widehorizons.org.uk.

    Full press release here

     

    About Wide Horizons | Our Impact | Our Brochure | Get in touch

  • #WorldBookDay 2nd March 02 March 2017  

    Adventure Learning tutors at Wide Horizons Environment centre (WEC) have dressed up today celebrate #WorldBookDay. What are you wearing to mark the date?

    Wide Horizons Adventure Learning tutors Jannes (one of the ‘three little pigs) and Amy (a female Wizard of Oz), dressed up today to celebrate World Book Day.

    The Three little pigs features in one of WEC‘s various living fiction, literacy sessions, which bring books to life through allowing children to take part in the story telling of a number of a number children’s books.

    “This is just a normal day at WEC” jokes Jannes, as the pair prepare to greet 30 children from Eltham C of E Primary, just a fraction of the nearly 50,000 children the charity helps each year.

     

    The children head outside after making their own pig masks, on an exciting adventure around the grounds. Visiting the full sized straw hut, stick house and brick house, re telling the story along the way.

    Watch out for the big bad wolf! Which house will they decide is best suited for the pigs? The session finishes by meeting and feeding WEC’s Kune-Kune pigs Darwin and Wallace, and a chance to make their own shelter or clay house.

    About Us | Our Impact | Our Brochure | Get in touch

     

     

     

     

     

  • adventure outreach London and Walsall London literacy levels revealed 09 February 2017  
    adventure outreach London and Walsall

    Five of London’s parliamentary constituencies are among those with the lowest literacy levels in England, according to a new study from The National Literacy Trust and Experian.

    Barking scored 55 for its literacy vulnerability score, with only Middlesbrough ranking below it. The study found that 86% of constituencies in England contain at least one ward with serious literacy issues, leaving just 75 constituencies, out of 533, with no serious literacy issues at all.

    Wide Horizons Adventure learning programmes are the perfect intervention. Whether going on a Bear Hunt and following the Gruffalo Trail at one of our day centres or taking part in one of our high adventure activities such as rock climbing, scrambling or canoeing to name just a few at our residential centres, we can tailor make a bespoke programme that will enforce and increase children’s literacy.

    By taking children out of their comfort zone in inspirational locations we force them to improve their communication and use of language, take on board different points of view and monitor the reactions of themselves and their peers thus increasing their knowledge and understanding of literacy. For more information and to discuss how we can create a programme for you please consult our highly qualified Adventure Learning Team.

  • Welcome to the Adventure Outreach Blog for Northwest London 31 January 2017  

    “Many greenspace and activity variants”

    To start with I should introduce myself. I am Dan Bell, a teacher of sorts, with a mixed experiential background of freelance creative design & making workshops and primary education.

    Northwest London Adventure Outreach Tutor - Dan Bell

    Northwest London Adventure Outreach Tutor – Dan Bell

    As an Adventure Learning Tutor, I liaise with schools to integrate learning outside of the classroom in whichever way is best for their target classes of children. This involves me going to the school, chaperoning them to the local greenspace of choice before delivering half day Adventure Learning sessions to classes across KS1 and KS2 age groups in schools across the north west boroughs of London.

    I have always had a passion for working outdoors, being creative where possible, with learning which is underpinned by strong environmental principles of sustainability. The school groups commence learning from the classroom, and continue with myself, as we transport ourselves as a group from the school to the outdoors (weather and all), to fulfil the focus of the session that day. The breadth of the subject matter these outreach sessions cover is so varied. Inherently, we will aim to cover aspects of the curriculum that benefit directly from the embellishment of the authenticity of investigations in the outdoors.

    For example lately, in the autumn and winter of the existing term I have accompanied academy school children from years 3, 4 and 5, in central London, on learning journeys to

    The weather always plays a part, good or bad, but as long as adherence to the correct clothing and footwear is followed, (thankfully) this unknown quantity almost always serves merely to punctuate the progress of the session.

    Coming into contact with seeds, insects, tree leaves, soil, frost and elemental things first hand, is so important for the children’s enquiry skills. It is often this aspect of the outreach sessions that is most appreciated by teaching staff.

    Not to mention the unplanned (but happy) learning accidents which occur along the way, which add an extra layer to the learning taking place on excursions outside of the four walls of usual classroom environment. But also familiarizing and enthusing the children with the features and merits of their local park or greenspace.

    Every trip has an adventure element, and, depending on the objectives of the session, there are always additions which originate from the children themselves. Indeed the children have ample opportunities to share and enrich the learning we achieve during outreach.

    In many of the scenarios, skill sets such as team working and team building are of paramount importance, as can be the need for collaboration and good communication with their peers. However, even where not explicitly outlined as objectives, an outdoor setting, with all its risks and uncertainty, often increases the learning in these areas.

    Dan Bell

  • WEC gets Interactive Weather Centre as Britain's 'Big Freeze' Continues 18 January 2017  

    Young weather watchers may be interested to hear that Wide Horizons Environment centre staff built a new interactive weather station this week.

    UK temperatures again hit the minus numbers this week, and unusually this included the southeast of England, and of course therefore, the Eltham Environment Centre (WEC).

    Despite the apparent drop in temperatures,  in fact continental Europe has taken the brunt of this year’s bad weather, with the UK Winter being actually milder than average so far with only brief cold snaps.

    WEC Senior Adventure Learning Tutor Amy Crudgington said:

    “We are excited to introduce our new interactive weather station to the centre this week. It has been built purely from recycled and reclaimed materials by the Wide Horizons Environment Centre tutors and some fantastic volunteers.  It will be used to enhance many of the programmes we offer, particularly our EYFS sessions based around the seasons. The children will have the opportunity to change out panels dependent on the weather, displaying the correct clothing to wear. There is also a space for children to insert discs displaying items found within the natural environment at different times of year.

    Our Key Stage One and Two groups will also benefit, using it for scientific investigations and data collection by recording the temperature and rainfall. We will be linking this with all our Adventure Science sessions. It will be interesting for the children to understand how the changing weather patterns have an abiotic effect on the pond and land invertebrates found at the centre. We will also be introducing a meter for the children to measure the sunlight intake of plants for Photosynthesis.

    The weather station has taken pride of place in our adventure playground where it will be visible to all visiting groups. We hope they will enjoy taking note of the weather patterns during their visits and that it will be enjoyed for many years to come!”

    WEC Weather Station - Wide Horizons Environment Centre, Eltham, London

    WEC Weather Station – Wide Horizons Environment Centre, Eltham, London

    Weather Station Kids - Wide Horizons Environment Centre Eltham London

    The WEC Weather Station includes a number of interactive elements that Children can use.

    WEC Weather station thermometer - Wide Horizons Environment Centre, Eltham, London

    Sunshine on a frosty day makes all the difference to temperatures taken

    Rainfall can be measured here

     

     

     

  • Shelley's Blog: Climate Change and Education 29 September 2016  

    Climate change is a topical issue: talks of melting ice caps and rising waters, have put this topic at the forefront of environmental discussions and media coverage, in recent years, but what has this got to do with the role of an educator?

    UNESCO state that “Education is an essential element of the global response to climate change. It helps young people understand and address the impact of global warming, encourages changes in their attitudes and behaviour and helps them adapt to climate change-related trends.”

    66dc15f4-1096-46a8-80fc-6e48b1c9351bBeing responsible in looking after the world around us is something any teacher would advocate; the new curriculum reflects this with topics such as recycling and composting firmly embedded in the new specification.  However, at Wide Horizons we are passionate that this understanding and respect of nature goes beyond the confines of a lesson plan. We believe that engaging children in the outdoors will provoke a life-long respect and love for the world around us.

    Whilst we do offer engaging sessions in recycling and sustainability, we believe that a whole journey in Adventure Learning throughout a child’s life will have the greatest impact in securing the future of our planet. In fact, our theory of change identifies environmental awareness and connection to the natural world as 2 key outcomes of adventure learning; there are only 3 outcomes!

    nicol

    Dr Robbie Nicol (c/o EOE Network)

    This premise is supported by Dr Robbie Nicol, senior lecturer in outdoor and environmental education at Moray House Institute, the School of Education of the University of Edinburgh. He states

    “My life motivation comes from the realisation that human activities are fundamentally altering the planet’s ability to sustain us in the long term. As an educator I believe that the outdoors provide places where individuals can rediscover their direct dependence on the planet through embodied experiences.”

    We are on a journey, partnering with schools, to ensure that every child has the opportunity for such adventures, thus securing the future of our planet.

  • new Pevril Lounge at Wide Horizons Townsend Centre New Townsend Centre Pevril Lounge Open 23 September 2016  
    new Pevril Lounge at Wide Horizons Townsend Centre

    Last week saw the grand opening of our new Pevril Lounge at Wide Horizons Townsend Centre. Hopefully this will add the desired level of comfort for visiting teaching staff.

    The lounge was opened at noon on Friday the 9th September by Paul Kermish who slaved away for a month on the refurbishments.

     

     

  • Exciting New Opportunities For Outreach 21 September 2016  

    Do you teach in a school in North West London, Walsall or near Crystal Palace Park?

    We have new exciting opportunities for subsidised Adventure learning sessions.

    In Walsall and North West London, the Wide Horizons Adventure Outreach programme brings Adventure to your school and takes place in your school grounds, local parks and other outdoor spaces close to your school and where your children live.

    Adventure Outreach sessions bring classroom subjects to life in a practical setting, increasing children’s understanding of curriculum subjects. By taking children outside and providing an experience which is adventurous, child-centered and fun the Adventure Outreach sessions can play a key part in adding value to the teaching inside the classroom with the aim of increasing a child’s attainment and motivation to learn.

    We are also delivering Adventure Outreach sessions in Crystal Palace Park. This iconic venue is the perfect place for learning to come alive. It delivers a whole programme of activities including Adventure English, Adventure Maths, and a new Adventure Engineering programme.

    An Outreach Case Study

    Fryent Primary in Brent, have benefitted from 43 Outreach sessions on a variety of topics across 5 year groups. The school has at least 22 sessions booked for Summer.

    “Wide Horizons have been supporting us with our Outreach programmes for the past three years. Every year we have such positive feedback from the children, teachers and parents about how excited the children were to be learning outside the classroom and the new knowledge and experiences they have gained. Parents have commented that they now feel more confident to take their children on nature walks and can see a real benefit from the children learning outside the classroom.

    Teachers noted that children’s behaviour and attitude had changed in some instances, with disengaged pupil becoming more engaged in the environment around them, and taking on more leadership type roles within their groups. We will continue to use Wide Horizons to support our staff and pupils for outdoor learning, as they have been a real asset to our school and community.” Grace Gonzalez, Assistant Head teacher, Fryent Primary School

    For  examples of the activities we can offer for Outreach please see our Adventure Outreach page.

     

  • NCS groups voluntary work at Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House 04 August 2016  

    On Tuesday 2nd August, two NCS groups visited Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House Centre to do some voluntary work

    The scheme is a voluntary day at the end of the NCS programme where the groups go to a local community project or charity and complete work for them.

    The groups who both come from the Eltham area, worked hard and painted the new Archery Range, as well as some maintenance on the paths in the woodland.

    Before

    paintingMMshedbefore

    AfterpaintingMMshedafter

     

  • Pigs' Names Revealed 03 August 2016  

    Our recent Family Fun Day at WEC included a competition to guess the names of our new Kunekune pigs

    Their names are Darwin and Wallace, after the famous theorists on Natural Selection, Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace.

    Only one person successfully guessed one of the pigs names (Wallace)

     

  • Family Fun Day is Biggest Yet! 26 July 2016  

    Over 1,000 people flocked to Wide Horizons Environment Centre in Eltham last Saturday, making it the biggest Family Fun Day the charity has ever had.

    The day raised £800 – which will help the charity do more work with less fortunate children.

    The event was also bigger than ever in terms of activities and attractions, and local people clearly appreciated that by showing huge support, as they enjoyed the burgeoning British Summer sun. Members of the public began streaming in from opening time at 11am with their little ones in tow, and continued until close of business around 3pm.


    DSC_3975While some chased butterflies, others could examine bees and taste real honey. Here and there children explored the 9 acres site, or joined a line of young and old following the words to Michael Rosen’s book “We’re going on a Bear Hunt”. Others could find a good map and follow a Gruffalo trail with characters from another children’s classic.

     

    The day seemed to capture something often unfamiliar in modern life -that ability to enjoy the outdoors, our natural surroundings, and above all inspire the imagination of our little ones to explore, gain confidence, and have new adventures.

    DSC_3941Visitors joined in with pond dipping, scaling a climbing wall, uncovering fossils, or just found a quiet spot in the beautiful grounds and gardens to relax or have a picnic. There was still time to enjoy a cake, and a cup of tea, or an ice cream, and have your face painted.

    Climbing Wall Tower

     

     

    Adventure Learning Manager and organiser Barney Clarke said:

    “This year, at the Family Fun Day we added some more of the activities which form part of our Adventure Learning programme for schools and the 8,000 children who visit the Wide Horizons Environment Centre in Eltham every year”.

    DSC_3948

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Wide Horizons are also running a new Summer Holiday Adventure Club in August, to extend their provision of adventure to the local community in Eltham. For further information, click here.

    DSC_4017

    Wide Horizons CEO Alex Brooks-Johnson said:

    “I’m really excited about being able to offer a new summer holiday programme to children this year at the Environment Centre in Eltham” He added, “what better way to spend the summer holidays than experiencing a potentially life changing adventure at our amazing 9 acre site.”

     

  • Eltham Environment Centre Gets Archaeological 22 July 2016  

    As part of Wide Horizons ongoing commitment to innovative outdoor Adventure Learning, this month saw the opening of our new archaeological dig  feature at the Wide Horizons Eltham Environment Centre (WEC), and will also feature at this year’s Free Fun Day open event to the general public.

    KidsLabThe simulation includes three dig pits where students can excavate model bone fossils and other artefacts created by our team, then examine them in our laboratory area next door.

    WEC labThis project provides an innovative and unique hands-on experience of fossil discovery and identification.

    Initially lessons will start with exploration of the Jurassic era, a period which saw the most diverse range of organisms that Earth had yet seen. We will later expand this to other eras of archaeological investigation.

    Wide Horizons Environment Centre Adventure Learning Manager Barney Clarke, described the new area:

    “This is a new hands on adventure learning experience with curricular links to evolution and adaptations, stone age and creature creation. 

    Children will be introduced to famous fossil hunters, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.

    Searching for, digging up and investigating a range of fossils and artefacts and then taking them into the kids lab to study them closer and question how and why animals have evolved over thousands of year.”

     

  • Wide Horizons Adventure Outreach Programme to start in Walsall 07 July 2016  

    We have received funding from the Mercers Company which will help us to deliver a subsidised Adventure Outreach programme to Primary Schools in Walsall.

    The Wide Horizons Adventure Outreach programme, brings the adventure to your school grounds and local parks bringing classroom subjects to life. Register your interest to receive details.

  • Pigs Arrive at the Wide Horizons Environmental Centre Eltham 07 July 2016  

    At Wide Horizons we are passionate about children being actively involved in their learning.  “Research has demonstrated that engaging students in the learning process increases their attention and focus, motivates them to practice higher-level critical thinking skills and promotes meaningful learning experiences”. Adventure Learning provides the perfect opportunity to do this. Whether this is taking children to the river Darenth (near our centre at Horton Kirby) to study first-hand the characteristics of the river as river rangers or using the picturesque views at Bryntysilio to inspire children to write poetry.

     

    We are constantly exploring ways to make our sessions and centres more inspirational.  With this in mind there have been 2 recent additions to the Wide Horizon Environment Centre in Eltham: our little pigs.  The pigs have only been here a few weeks but they have stolen the hearts of the staff, and the children who have visited the centre.  The Kunkune breed harks from New Zealand and is probably descended from the Asian variety.  They may be cute (and rather noisy) but they have an important role in our Adventure Learning programmes.  Whether children are coming to our new 3 little pigs session, exploring habitats or adaptations or looking at free range farming, you can be certain that the pigs will play their role: to engage children and make the learning experience memorable.

  • Margaret McMillan House – Pilgrim dormitory upgrade completed 05 July 2016  

    The month of June saw a facelift to the Pilgrim dormitory at Margaret McMillan house in Wrotham. The immensely popular accommodation hall underwent renovation with a new bathroom built for teachers and staff following feedback received from schools.

    Wide Horizons Chief Executive Alex Brooks-Johnson stated “the work that has taken place in the Pilgrim dorm has breathed fresh life into it. “Whilst our focus will always be on the thousands of life changing experiences we deliver to children every year, we also want the teachers who accompany them to enjoy their visit and be comfortable in their accommodation, we feel that this upgrade will achieve just that”.

    Joy Ashwin-Carter, Deputy Head at Jude & St Pauls school in Islington officially opened the new the new facilities and is delighted with the improvement saying “I have been taking school groups to Margaret McMillan House since 1981 and the upgrade to the Pilgrim Dorm is a fantastic improvement that has really refreshed the area with the addition of a brand new teacher’s bathroom a real bonus to our visit.”

    To book a stay at Margaret McMillan please contact mcmillan@widehorizons.org.uk alternatively call 01732 822651.