Wild Souls Homepage

Who are we?

Wild Souls is a nature based, outdoor education provider with a key emphasis on ‘child led’ learning through play. We are based in Bury, Lancashire and can offer support for schools and preschools within our surrounding area including Bolton, Rochdale, Burnley and Blackburn. Founders Rob Dart and Lisa McBride have a passion for the outdoors and are committed to providing high quality learning experiences for all children. We value uniqueness, allow children to learn at a pace that suits them, and encourage children to take ownership of their learning. Underpinning all of this, we celebrate the natural world and hopefully inspire children to develop a deep and lasting connection with nature.

At our core…

At Wild Souls we have 4 main principles that are woven into everything we do…..

Always be respectful of ourselves, our community and nature.

Approach every aspect of our lives with compassion and kindness.

Understand that our journeys are just that and be open. To know that failure is the moment when new knowledge is acquired and the best way for us to grow.

As we grow use our knowledge to help grow our minds, bodies and souls; to help grow a strong healthy community; and to help create a strong and healthy environment in which our planet, our community and ourselves can thrive, together.

What do we do?

Our Feedback

“I didn’t know what to expect but I thought it was fabulous.  Rob and Lisa were really kind and helped us a lot to learn new skills.  It was a really good experience.  It was a cool fence we made and I was so proud of what we did.” 
J, aged 10

“I thought it was a good experience.  The fence we built was amazing.”
D, aged 11

Forest School is an educational philosophy that provides opportunities for all learners to explore and reach their potential. This ‘child led’ approach to learning, has 6 main principles at its core. Click here to read about the Forest School Principles on the Forest School Association website.

As qualified Forest School Leaders, we would apply these principles to create a rich and engaging outdoor educational experience. Children will explore nature, engage in responsible risk, be creative and make meaningful contributions to an inclusive learning community.

Nature is at our heart, it inspires us everyday and we would love to share this passion with your school community.

Our Feedback

” The children had a wonderful time preparing for and building the willow hedge.  Rob and Lisa were patient and helpful as they taught new skills and helped the children to be safe with tools and a camp fire.  They adapted to the children’s needs, experiences and capabilities so that they could all have a very positive experience.  One child exclaimed “It was the best day ever!” as they overcame the difficulties that arose because of heavy rainfall and muddy ground.  We would like to thank Rob and Lisa for a brilliant experience.”
Mrs Fitzpatrick, Greenmount Primary School

Based upon the Forest School philosophy, we can bring you exciting and inspiring curriculum days. Whether it’s a whole class experience, based on a current topic or a focused group of children that would benefit from a different approach to learning, we can tailor an unforgettable experience that will meet the needs of those participating. Let us weave the magic of nature into your curriculum….

Our Feedback

” Wild Souls have provided excellent, invaluable advice and support to help our school to begin to develop our outdoor learning environments. Rob and Lisa have helped us to create our vision for how we can best use our outdoor areas to re-energise children’s learning.  They have been instrumental in starting our journey and we are excited to see how our vision enfolds and evolves, with their continued support, in the future. “
David Griffith, Headmaster, Greenmount Primary School

Do you have an outdoor space you’d like revamped? Would you like to incorporate natural structures and sustainable, natural resources into your environment? Would you like to encourage more wildlife into your space? Get in touch and we’ll help to get the most out of your space.

After School Club

Our Feedback

“All of my children have attended the Wild Souls sessions and absolutely love them! Thanks so much Rob and Lisa “
Kate Wheeler

“The boys have had a fantastic time learning lots of new skills, keeping fit and meeting new friends. Thankyou”
Claire Whalley

We offer an after school club at Greenmount Primary School that runs every Wednesday during term time. During these sessions, children will be inspired to play and learn through nature. They will dig, jump, saw, swing, drill and much more all in the name of fun whilst subconsciously engaging in a deep and meaningful learning process. All of this will be facilitated by our trained team of Forest School Leaders, who provide opportunities for the the children to take ownership of their learning. We encourage the children to explore responsible risks as we see the value it has in the learning process, all the while promoting a deep love and respect for nature. The children will become deeply invested in the Wild Souls community, where our core principles of respect, love, learn and grow are an integral part of our daily practice.

We currently have a waiting list in place for this but if you are interested please drop us an email and we will pop you on the list.


Preschool Sessions

Our Feedback

” What a brilliant time we both had at Wild Souls preschool sessions. I was looking for something we could do together in the outdoors and these fit the bill perfectly. My little one loved playing games with the friends he met there and with Lisa and Rob. He learnt lots about nature, made some fab creations and always had a tasty snack round the fire on each session. His favourite bit however was using tools to complete different tasks.”
Helen Kay

Details coming soon….Our Preschool sessions will encourage children to engage and connect with nature through a variety of play based activities. Each week, we will share stories together, get creative with nature based crafts and explore the outdoors through games. However, the children are free to explore our little corner of the world as they wish, dipping in and out of a range of activities we have set up to promote the different schema of play. There will be a campfire snack and drink provided for the children and a brew for their grown up. We can’t wait to meet you around the fire.


Summer Camp

Our Feedback

“I was keen to enrich my two boys’ summer holiday experience with something that would help them to build confidence and interpersonal skills in an environment that was encouraging of independent play. We found this ten-fold at Wild Souls – such a warm, inclusive and friendly camp that my boys looked forward to so much every day – at the end of the week, the group had really bonded. I’d sign up again in a flash. Thanks Lisa and Rob! “
Suzanne Byrne

Our week long, fun packed Summer camp, offers children more time to invest in the Forest School experience. We will play games, cook around the campfire, become nature detectives, get creative with nature based crafts, solve problems, use tools safely, make fires to name but a few things. The emphasis will always be a ‘child led’ approach, so the week will go where the children want to take it. The children will be responsible for creating an inclusive community, which echoes our core values; love, respect, learn and grow, we are there to facilitate this in a caring, non-competitive way. There will be more time for the children to reflect on their learning, learn from their failures and celebrate their successes. A week not to be missed!

Details for 2020 coming soon..

Where do we do it….our place?

Situated behind Greenmount Cricket Club at the heart of the community.

We currently host an after school club at Greenmount Primary School and are working very closely to deliver natural learning environments and to help bring the Forest School ethos into their curriculum.

More coming soon….

Or yours?

We can accommodate group bookings at any of the sites above or we can come to you if you have a space in mind.

Why is a nature based, holistic and “child led” education important?

The current education system is strongly focused on the “three R’s”. Reading, writing and arithmetic. Sir Ken Robinson describes in a 2007 TED talk on education (1), how the current education system skips over the arts and humanities leaving a gaping black hole in education provision where every form of creativity and imagination is sucked from our children. The current regime of examination and measuring our children is one borne out of our capitalist culture (2), which seeks to maximise the potential of society but only from a financial sense. Modern society’s capital-industrialist mindset is not one that has been around for very long in relative terms. Yes, it has been around for the entirety of every living person’s lifetime, but skip back three or four generations and things were much different. It has been a very costly time in our human history in terms of our natural world and the biodiversity on our planet. In the last 30 or 40 years as the capitalist model has really cranked into gear and industrialism and materialism have reigned supreme we have caused devastating levels of damage to our planet (3). Through all this striving for material goods and financial gain our society has deeply damaged itself, our communities and the natural world around us.

One of the key ways to counteract the current course of society is through a better education. Through promoting the holistic development and fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners, we will create future adult generations who are much more able to cater for the needs of themselves, their communities and their planet and maybe, just maybe dig us out of this hole we currently find ourselves in.

That’s not to say that the skills and knowledge acquired through our modern education system are redundant, quite the opposite. They are equally important and it is important that learning within Forest School is linked where possible to learning that children do within the classroom to enable a deeper understanding of the child.

The ideas of holistic learning are firmly ingrained in the leaders of the sessions at Wild Souls. Indeed, Wild Souls is built on four principles which gives deep insight into a holistic way of thinking. Through these principles, the Wild Souls team promotes creativity, independence, resilience and confidence, not just for its learners but for everyone involved and hopes to inspire everyone to lead a more holistic way of life.

References

(1) TED, (2007), Do schools kill creativity? Ken Robinson, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY accessed: 04/04/2019

(2) Ernst Freidrich Schumacher, Small is beautiful: A study of economics as if people mattered, Blond & Briggs, 1983.

(3) WWF, 2018, Living Planet Report 2018, accessed: 04/04/2019, <https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/living-planet-report-2018>

Want to find out more?

Thank you for your interest in our business. Please get in touch with us using the form below with any questions you may have. We are also available to come in and meet your team to see how we can help with your school, again, just drop us a message below to arrange this.

Cheers

Rob & Lisa (The Wild Souls Team)

FAQ’s

What is Forest School?

Forest School is an educational philosophy that provides opportunities for all learners to explore and reach their potential. This ‘child led’ approach to learning, has 6 main principles at its core. Click here to read about the Forest School Principles on the Forest School Association website.

Where do you run the sessions?

We have different sites setup from which we can accommodate group bookings. Details of these sites can be found here. We can also come to you and run sessions in your setting. Please contact us for more information.

What are the costs?

We try to keep our prices as low as possible in order to ensure accessibility for all. Please do bare in mind we do incorporate food and craft materials into all of our sessions all of which is inclusive in the price. For school enquiries please contact us and ask for our rate card which we will forward to you. For parents please contact us and let us know the specific sessions you are interested in and we will let you know the prices.

What child safeguarding and first aid procedures are in place?

All of our staff undergo full annual DBS checks and biannual child safeguarding training. There will be a fully qualified outdoor first aider at every single session. For more information on our policies and procedures please contact us and request a pdf copy of our handbook and we will gladly email one across.

What should I bring to the sessions?

All of our sessions are run outside, whatever the weather. So, clothing will vary dramatically over the different seasons. Please see the table below.

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