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Freedom to play

We've just finished 2018's first two sessions of our Wee Skelfs holiday club, and it's been amazing! Lots of new faces joined us, and regulars came back for more. But what is it about the Skelfs experience that's so popular with the kids? We've come up with a couple of reasons.

1. It's not about the curriculum

There are now loads of great opportunities for outdoor learning. From forest schools to residential trips at outdoor centres, the Curriculum for Excellence has created the space for kids to connect with the world of nature. And there are great reasons for making this a part of the educational system, not least for the positive impact it has on development. These structured experiences are really important, but so is time to play. Free play - away from organised activities - is where the child's imagination can really come to the fore, encouraging creativity. And this is just as important to their development. Our Skelfs show the power of their imagination in all sorts of ways - from putting together their own performance in the tree house, to becoming wilderness explorers.

2. It is about fun!

When we say Skelfs is child-led, we really mean it. Of course, trained staff are a core part of the club, bringing expertise in green woodworking, arts and crafts, storytelling, and bushcraft skills. But we don't make plans for activities, or a schedule for the day. Each Skelf decides what they want to do, when they want to do it, and who they want to play with. If they want to spend the day on the mud slide, then they can. If they want to try their hand at whittling or woodland crafts, then we can help them. We leave the kids to solve their own problems, and make their own decisions. And they thrive on that independence, discovering that they enjoy the most.

3. They choose their pals

Skelfs range in age from 6 to 12, so you might think we separate them into age groups. We don't! Kids are free to choose who they play with. And we regularly see them move between groups, as they become interested in different things throughout the day. Girls mix with boys, the P7s with the P2s, different schools with different schools. It's great to see the ebb and flow of these group dynamics. This flexibility helps the kids interact with different people and build their social skills.

Like other outdoor experiences, Skelfs helps to create a love of nature. Unlike other more structured activities, we give kids the space to explore - not only their surroundings, but themselves, as well. Why not give it a try? We have dates available for the Easter holidays and for the summer break.

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