These projects support communities to play, learn and work together in their local wild spaces.
Establishing strong relationships with nature is critical for us all given the current environmental challenges faced in the world (unmitigated climate change, resource depletion, pollution, and species extinction to name a few). By designing creative engagement programmes that place curiosity and imagination at the heart, CCI has repeatedly demonstrated the transformational impact of the experiences we offer.
We have engaged with children as young as one and older than 81. We have worked in vast woods and small muddy plots. What all projects share is a commitment to sharing and discovering the joys and significance of exploring wild spaces together.
Everybody should have an opportunity to explore outdoors just once a week….. It’s just great to be outside. I was fascinated by how my daughter was concentrating on tasks. …Isabella enjoyed it so much my concerns ebbed away…I think she would go every day if she could…She (the artist) bought new, fresh eyes and a really listening approach to working with children. She has the ability to make all learners feel valued, adults and children.
Feedback from parents
Wild Connections Workshops
Bringing the imaginative, sensory, and dramatic power of the woods into early childhood education.
A programme of 3 experiential and reflective workshops offered during 2013/14 that will focus on young children’s outdoor learning and exploration. Led by creative practitioner Deb Wilenski (37 Shadows and Ways into Hinchingbrooke Country Park) the sessions offer in-depth experience and provocative questions from our recent Footprints projects commissioned by Cambridge County Council’s Early Years Service. They will explore an approach in which young children can be active, independent and inventive learners, and adults can be creative, thoughtful, and innovative practitioners.
More information here
Fantastical Guides for the Wildly Curious
Our first guide in this series – Ways into Hingchingbrooke Country Park – is now published. Written by creative practitioners Deb Wilenski and Caroline Wendling with a foreword by Robert Macfarlane, it draws on the materials gathered through the Hinchingbrooke project – photographs, stories, creative work in different media – to create a resource that is both provocative and beautiful, sharing children’s experiences and interpretations of the park with its future visitors.
Deb Wilenski and Caroline Wendling have watched and listened – patiently, perceptively – over months to these children, and what they have learnt from them is astonishing. To read this book is to see innocently again, and to renew your sense of words as being able to forge and conjure. It brims with the power of make-believe.
(author of Mountains of the Mind, The Wild Places and The Old Ways)
Read online or order a printed copy here.
Supported by the Ernest Cook Foundation and Cambridgeshire County Council Early Years Service
Cambridgeshire Early Years commissioned Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination to work with children, staff and parents from Kidzone, a nursery in Whittlesey, and Shirley Primary School, Cambridge, throughout the summer term 2012. An evaluation report can be read online or downloaded. Visit the project blog to read the adventures and observations in more detail. This work now continues with another supported project in Huntingdon.
37 Shadows: listening to children’s stories from the woods brings together many of the extraordinary stories created by children in our Histon Footprints project. A blog documenting this work across two terms with Histon Children’s Centre offers more detailed insights. Copies of the booklet can be purchased for more information click here.
Adventuring in a Cambridge Forest offers an account of an earlier Footprints project with children, staff and parents from Colleges Nursery, north Cambridge, and their explorations at Milton County Park.
The children revealed sides of themselves that were previously less known, less developed, less obvious – there was a real sense of the children flourishing in this environment and the joy this bought to both parents and educators.
Educator, Colleges Nursery
The Trail of Imagination and Curiosity was developed for a Cambridge Cemetery, working with local children and families to discover creative ways in to exploring this unique space. This booklet is available free via the cemetery website to support all future visitors.
The booklet for families was an imaginative and useful resource for the website. Its contents led people down an imaginative path of their own choosing to investigate what could be seen, smelt, imagined and heard in the cemetery. The format of the self folding book provided an ideal resource that they could take around the cemetery with them and draw what they discovered in it.
Tamsin Wimshurst, Education Officer, Cambridge and Country Folk Museum
A range of CCI Maps offer further details of how Footprints projects have worked:
- with educators through study days, mentoring programmes, conferences, and developing resources
- with schools through programmes of visits and classroom resources
- with families, teenagers and trails
Footprints enriches lives, changes lives. With CCI the children will learn that the beauty of the countryside is theirs to enjoy, and ultimately, theirs to protect. The value of CCI to the children, to the local community, and to the preservation of the countryside will be immeasurable.
Michael Morpurgo, Patron of CCI (author and former Children’s Laureate)