Given the natural magnificence of the site at Knockree Youth Hostel, lands in the Glencree Valley and the depth of experienced outdoor youth educators we’ll have on hand, we are designing the EUPC for Kids around the theme of “Children in Nature”. The Valley’s name is Gleann Crí which one translation suggests means the valley of the heart. It is host to diverse landscapes ranging from ancient Oak/Ash woodlands to sprawling meadows and the meandering Glencree river; the perfect setting for adventure and immersion in the natural world.
Nature Mentoring and Forest Schools operate under an ethos of connection. Connection to ourselves as individuals, connection to others as a community, and connection to the Earth as our home. People, especially children, make connections naturally and it is the role of the mentor/forest school leader to facilitate this process – not by information packed lessons but rather by holding the space for timeless interactions to take place in the natural world. A firm connection to self, others, and the world around us is a foundation from which people (of all ages) can live a healthier, more confident life in deep respect for our natural environment – growing into stewards for both their local communities and the Earth.
More information on the Irish Forest School Principles can be found here
Nature-Based Mentoring in a nutshell
- Connects people through lived experiences to the world around them.
- Utilises time-honored outdoor skills and traditions to bring people into direct relationship with their local environments and communities.
- Emphasises routines of connection over information-filled lessons.
- Optimises awareness of the present moment.
- Meets people where they are at, rather than setting expectations.
- Promotes personal development, confidence, competence, and sense of self
- Teaches through play, role-modelling, shared curiosity, and “growing edges”.
- Holistically engages body, mind, and spirit.
- Rekindles our natural ecology.
Programme outline and description:
We are developing a creative programme of activities led by inspiring permaculture and forest school educators/nature mentors from around Europe.
For the youngest members of our tribe (from 0-3 years) we will provide a cosy corner with breastfeeding pillows, nappy mats, toys, and other facilities enabling parents to be comfortable with their children.
Children aged 4-12 years will be ably entertained with a wide variety of fun activities/experiences out in nature, such as eco arts and crafts, permaculture/nature games, carving, fire-making, rope swings, den-building, singing, music-making and wandering the landscape. Parents with young ones (under 4 years old) are welcome to join in these activities provided they offer supervision of their little ones.
Teenagers will have a dedicated fully equipped Teen Zone for hanging out in. Once teenagers are booked in to the event, they will have access to a private Facebook group to ‘meet’ each other before the event. We appreciate that some teenagers will want to participate in the main event workshops, however there will also be some activities designed specifically for them and we’d welcome their support as mentors in the younger programmes as well!
A basic timetable of MORNING and AFTERNOON programs is being established with the consideration that parents will register children for each session they wish them to participate in as well as pick children up at the EUPC Kids Area at the END of EACH session.
MORNING SESSION(S) will end just before LUNCHTIME
AFTERNOON SESSION(S) will end around 17:30 (based on the timetable of adult events).
EUPC Kids Staff/Educators will be responsible ONLY for the children SIGNED UP for the PROGRAMS BEING OFFERED (Morning or Afternoon).
The programme will not be offered as a child-minding service, parents/guardians will be responsible for assessing the ability of their children to participate in any session offered and are asked to make themselves fully aware of the site and potential risks to their children. Parents/guardians may choose to accompany their children for sessions depending on their age and ability.
There will be a Notice Board at the EUPC Kids Area where parents can offer child-minding for each other’s children (especially under 4 yrs old).
The EUPC Kids Area will be a communal space for educators to offer youth workshops / programmes, parents to hangout and relax, and overall free-flow for kids to play and explore.