Nature Nurture® Project
Early Intervention Programmes
The Nature Nurture® Project provides an early intervention programme for children and young people, comprising the restorative effects of free play in a natural environment and closely attuned nurturing interactions with specially trained staff. The project facilitates the development of resilience in the most vulnerable, such as children and young people from families affected by substance misuse, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, abusive relationships, neglect and poverty. The project has worked successfully with children from Aberdeen’s most deprived areas and has worked closely with the children's families, social workers and school staff.
Nature Nurture® runs groups for early years (18 months–4 years of age), early primary (5-7 years of age), late primary (8-11 years), early secondary (11-13 years) and older secondary (14-16 years). All groups attend weekly sessions, either morning or afternoon, and all but the early years’ groups also receive whole-day sessions for a week in school holidays. All sessions take place outdoors, irrespective of weather, and include adventurous play, physical challenge, creative activities including craft, opportunities to interact with animals, social skill building and collaboration, and opportunities to develop respect for and understanding of the natural world. The structured framework of the sessions allows the children to develop a sense of security and to learn to keep themselves and others safe, but also gives the space for child-initiated learning and play. Children and young people rapidly develop physical wellbeing, extend physical skills and confidence, develop emotional wellbeing, become less stressed, present greater self regulation and display less challenging behaviours. Schools report improved social skills, more openness for learning and greater self efficacy. Families and schools have all commented on the children and young people’s improved social competencies and greater ability to empathise, to collaborate and to respect peers and adults.
Nature Nurture® Project programmes take place in blocks of 10 sessions for Early Years and 20 sessions for all other groups.
A baseline assessment is prepared by social worker and family members, and then each individual’s development towards resilience is observed and monitored throughout the project and this information, together with the children’s evaluation of their own development, and staff and parental evaluations, form an end of project report of outcomes.
Nature Nurture® works closely with families and other professionals who have contact with the children. Two places are offered to parents and carers each session and the Nature Nurture® team use this opportunity to show parents and carers some of the strategies developed by the project to promote their child’s positive development towards resilience. Parents and carers are given the opportunity to hear about sessions and to discuss concerns or observations about their child at the end of each session when Nature Nurture® staff bring the children home or to the pickup point. Parents and carers are also invited to take part in the evaluation process at the end of the programme of sessions.
The Nature Nurture® Project also provides a comprehensive training for educational and social services’ staff members. Two to three places per group are offered to staff as a training opportunity. Staff attend three CPD sessions on theory, approaches and practical skills applied in Nature Nurture® and join the children’s sessions, helping to support the work with the children and develop their own practice in the process. Reflection and evaluation of the children’s development and staff practice takes place at the end of every session after the children have left.
For more information please visit http://naturenurture.org.uk
Nature Nurture® is a trademark of Family Support Projects, A Charity no. SC040277. Registered company no. SC352081.