The bear necessities. Children learn outside at Waterside

Date 3.03.2022

The pitter-patter of happy feet was heard on campus this week when local school children dropped in for classes with UON students.

Year 2 children from Thorplands Primary swapped their normal classroom for the great outdoors at Waterside for something fun, interactive and different.

Also having fun and learning alongside them were final year Childhood and Youth students. They designed and delivered sessions based on the story ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ as part of a module about creative and therapeutic approaches to working with children, young people and families.

In the book, a family of explorers trek across fields and through rivers and mud to find a real bear and the morning at Waterside mirrored the story.

The children worked through six activities including creative storytelling, the chance to get muddy with mural-making and creating a den for a teddy bear by using natural materials found on campus.

Children learning outdoors

They also used crayon rubbings to create ‘bear fur’ using surfaces such as tree trunks (above), as well as having a go at making their bear masks (below).

The morning’s activities were also designed to empower the students with creative ideas for their future careers.

Before they returned to school the children received a certificate for taking part and a toy to take back with them.

Marley and Scarlett (pictured) were two of the intrepid visitors. Scarlett said: “I was excited because we were learning outside and there were so many things to do! I knew it was going to be fun. My favourite part was when we made a den for the bear because I like making things. I want to be an interior designer when I grow up. I was a bit upset when we had to go because I wanted to stay all day”.

Marley added: “I had a fun time at the University. I want to be a scientist when I grow up and go to University. My favourite activity was when we made patterns on the picture of the bear.”

UON student Genine Taylor also felt the morning helped with her learning: “One of our modules gives us the chance to offer children and young people opportunities to explore and express their individuality.

“We found the session very enjoyable and informative by giving us the amazing opportunity to interact and encourage engagement to the children within an inviting and developing environment with creative activities.”

Find out more about the Childhood and Youth degree at UON.