The Mindstretchers Academy Blog

A BLOG ABOUT BOGS

Posted by Claire Warden on

A BLOG ABOUT BOGS

30 years ago, I fell into a bog. The day was cold and clagged in. I couldn’t see more than a few inches in front of me and I slipped on a wet rock and fell. My partner and I were camping in a midge invested camp site at the foot of Ben Nevis in Scotland and had committed to climbing the monument that is Ben Nevis. Bogs are an important habitat and I had no intent to damage the area I fell in. As we had walked up the lower slopes there was a mixture of heather moorland, grass...

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FORGOTTEN SPACES - A CORNER OF THE PLAYGROUND

Posted by Claire Warden on

FORGOTTEN SPACES - A CORNER OF THE PLAYGROUND

Trees - A movable forest In this second blog on forgotten spaces we explore the concept of a movable forest and how this small action can soften a landscape and therefore increase children’s desire to be outside. In many environments where I often work, the outdoor landscape is very barren due to increasing levels of vandalism. In these locations it can be hard for staff to sustain the motivation to replace and fix damaged items. It was from this experience that 13 years ago I designed a mobile system called the ‘We-Go outside’. It took its name from my young...

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MISSION MUD-POSSIBLE!

Posted by Claire Warden on

MISSION MUD-POSSIBLE!

If you choose to accept the mission read on... The wonderful work of the World Forum for Early Childhood led to the creation of international working forums to support the change process and to create networks for colleagues to connect to each other and support their work across the world. One of the working forums was the Nature Action Collaborative for Children (NACC). As part of the network, I would like to acknowledge Gillian McAuliffe from Australia and Bishnu Bhatta from Nepal who collaborated on the first event. Since then it has spread across the world, through time zones and...

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HEALTHY DIRT

Posted by Claire Warden on

HEALTHY DIRT

Playing in mud helps our bodies function because we are in fact, not individuals. We are ecosystems with microbial partners (microbiota) that are involved in the development (particularly in early life) and function of essentially every organ, including the brain. This blog seeks to focus on the research on the long-term health benefits of being exposed to dirt not just in playing with mud, but through our changing habits in society. Allergies The Hygiene Hypothesis, first put forth in the 1980s, holds that when children are too clean and their exposure to parasites, bacteria, and viruses is limited early in...

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TRANSITIONS - CREATING A PROCESS RATHER THAN AN EVENT

Posted by Claire Warden on

TRANSITIONS - CREATING A PROCESS RATHER THAN AN EVENT

Children are constantly involved in transitions that involve a change of thinking or behaviour. Adults often do not even give them a passing thought until a child shows they cannot cope, we look at the large transitions from home to centre, from centres to schools as being worthy of note. All the work we do is about developing in children the skills, attitudes and knowledge they need to make sense of the world. Taking children through the small changes, builds up to an understanding and preparation for change. Children can then develop the inner resilience to meet new challenges, wherever...

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