As part of Early Years Wellbeing Week 2018, we welcome Joanna from Led by the Wild, a community interest company that engages children and parents in nature-led learning and wellbeing activities in their outdoor environment at white woods farm woodland in Kent.

The wellbeing of both adults and children is interwoven through all the activities and groups that we run at Led by the Wild. We aim to provide a haven in the woodland where the day to day pressures can be forgotten with a focus on living for the moment.

We are a new Community Interest Company which we started on the back of a parent and child group, Tree Tots, that we had been running for a few months. The popularity and feed back we received from parents attending Tree Tots, showed the enormous need the local community had to to reconnect with nature. We started planning and began our new journey with the aim of giving this chance to access the great outdoors, to a wider group of individuals.

Many parents spoke of how they would like a group just for them, to relax and spend time outside as they were already seeing the benefit it was bringing them and their children. So our first Grown-up well being session was planned! Using the Danish ‘theory’ of hygge, we organised an event that would appeal to creating a feeling of calm, self worth and enjoyment. Lanterns, a campfire, sheepskin rugs, toasting marshmallows and hot chocolate all helped create the atmosphere. The path through the woods to the campfire was lit by tea light lanterns and tiny, white fairy lights and looked truly beautiful.

As organisers, we were expecting to have to lead the conversation however everyone chatted in such a relaxed way that the evening unfolded with little direction needed and two hours flew by! The feedback afterwards was so positive and we have since had enquiries from others about when our next event will be. Overall people said they left feeling calm, relaxed and reported having the best night of sleep afterwards! Getting away from technology was another overriding positive that people felt the event offered.

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