Research has shown that crafting with materials, learnt at an early age in school and continued through the key stages of learning, develops creativity, problem solving & practical intelligence. However recent data shows a steady decline in the opportunities for making in school. In-fact a 67% decline in Design & Technology GCSE since 2010.
Equally there is significant research about the importance of nature connection in supporting the well-being of children and young people.
• Developing young people's practical skills
• Nurturing nature connection
• Fostering wellbeing
• Promoting climate change action
• Supporting teaching of Design Technology & Outdoor learning
Year 6 (age 10 & 11) primary school students spend 5 weeks over the academic year - 25 days - working in the woods (whatever the weather) with local craftspeople, creating green woodwork products using traditional making processes and Year 10 & Year 12 students get master class sessions across the academic year working with a master craftsperson in school.
We are working with local primary schools to integrate the annual tree cycle into the school curriculum so that each class will have a role in the cycle - seed gathering, transplanting seedlings, creating a tree nursery, planting, tree care, coppicing, making with wood - across the school year each year, all within an integrated tree plan for their towns.
“Cool and amazing, an experience I will never forget”
We created an 18 month progression programme of :
• Woodcraft workshops in the woods
• Woodland management activity
• Nature conservation projects
• Pop-up Maker Stalls at local markets
• A major exhibition at Devon Guild of Craftsmen
“The project has had a deep impact on the students and teachers involved offering them opportunities to explore their creativity, promote individual wellbeing and foster climate change action through tree planting and has evolved rapidly to connect into local climate emergency action.”
Rajni Patel, Project Director
Using the workshop and Fab Lab facilities to support the development of Year 7- Year 12 students' making and enterprise practice through generating income by year round commissions and batch production.
Allied to this we are exploring with KEVICC’s the opportunity to use their 23 acre site to develop a 50 year programme of afforestation based on the school planting and managing it’s site to support climate action, bio-diversity and to develop and supply local markets for woodland products.
These activities include specialist woodcraft workshops, practical nature conservation and woodland management activity including tree planting, creating a ‘Bodger Camp’ with the children at a local woodland site. We also run pop up stalls at Ashburton Christmas Market to sell the products made and created a Craft Week programme at Ashburton Primary School for 4 other South Dartmoor schools.
The project has been co-designed with the school to maximise scope for students to take an active role, promoting student voice and leadership.
In addition to this project activity we have agreed to integrate the school’s sustainability plan to focus on climate action and tree planting so that it is directly linked to the schools’ key stage 3 & 4 curriculum and beyond into sixth form, with students taking the lead.
Linked to this we are also working with the Design Technology team at the College to explore the development of a woodcraft enterprise model. Using the Colleges’ workshop facilities to support the development of students' making and enterprise practice through generating income by year round commissions and batch production, developed by students working alongside early career and master craftspeople.