We invest in fully qualified teachers to deliver Wilderness Schooling. Our teachers have experience in schools and outdoors. They are trained Wilderness Schooling practitioners, with expert knowledge of the curriculum and how to apply it in the natural environment.
Toby Quibell is a teacher and drama therapist who set up The Learning Challenge. Having pioneered school-based group therapy he set about establishing its credibility as an educational as well as a community health initiative through a NHS-funded research programme. When TLC merged with the Tyneside Cyrenians in 2012 he stepped down as Director and went on to explore a lifelong interest in the outdoors as a location for intellectual, social and emotional growth.
It gives me such pleasure to see children become connected with the outdoors, to be a part of something that enlarges their sense of themselves. Curriculum attainment is the licence schools need to allow wonder to be part of the learning experience.
Catherine Robson has a degree in agricultural zoology, completed her PGCE at UEA and her MSc at Newcastle University. She joined Wilderness Schooling following a quarter of a century in science education and several years working with school groups in local parks.
Catherine particularly enjoys introducing pupils to new outdoor environments and devising creative ways of delivering core curriculum through their experiences. She feels that Wilderness Schooling provides children with the opportunity to learn in alternative ways which suit them and to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in an exciting, but structured, setting.
Wilderness Schooling is about children being inspired to learn through responding to stimulating outdoor experiences. The role of the adults (Wilderness teacher, Wilderness facilitator and school staff) is to engineer these experiences to match formal curriculum outcomes. And to bring the juice and biscuits . . .
Anita Foster gained a BSc(Hons) in Biology with Education from the University of Bath in 1992. This teaching qualification coupled with a passion for the outdoors led her to focus on learning outside the classroom – developing programmes, managing education centres and working with thousands of children and teachers in a wide range of settings. Since 2001 she has specialised in school grounds, helping schools and early years settings realise the potential of these spaces as educational resources, through consultancy, training and project management. Anita’s favourite aspect of Wilderness Schooling?
The light bulb moments. When a child really ‘gets’ something. I see this in teachers too, when they see the positive impact of learning outdoors on their pupils, and understand themselves what Wilderness School is all about.
Bryony Villiers-Stuart completed her PGCE in English with Drama at Newcastle University in 2009. She began her teaching career as a high-School English and drama teacher and began leading outdoor education activities with kids of all ages on a voluntary basis in her spare time. Bryony was delighted to join the Wilderness Schooling team, bringing together an enthusiasm for teaching and a love of the outdoors. Bryony’s favourite aspect of Wilderness Schooling is
. . . positive feedback from the kids. When they realise what they’re doing is not just having fun . . . they are often surprised at how enjoyable learning can be.
Ye Min trained as a special needs teacher working in special schools and units and then in residential school before training to be a drama therapist. He moved to the North East to work for the Total Learning Challenge, facilitating therapeutic group work in schools. Ye likes innovation, creativity and a challenge. With Wilderness School he loves the mixture fun, discovery and the outdoors.
Our facilitators bring a wealth of experience, enthusiasm and specialist training to Wilderness Schooling.
Jenny Dockett started her career as a scientist until she discovered that talking to children about science was much more satisfying than research. This led to working as the Education Officer at The Royal Observatory in Edinburgh and the Public Engagement Manager at the Centre for Life.
Jenny is involved with Science Festivals and family engagement projects with science and heritage themes. She enjoys sharing nature and science with children and believes that education should be inspiring and nurturing. As well as Wilderness School training, Jenny has completed a level two forest schools practitioner course. Jenny’s favourite aspect of Wilderness Schooling?
Being out of doors, campfires and telling stories.
Kate Larkin has been a youth worker in the North East for 10 years, having trained in youth work, health psychology and counselling. She is currently co-ordinating and delivering a mental health project in Newcastle for Children North East. Passionate about emotional wellbeing and working creatively with children and young people, Kate has really enjoyed combining this with outdoor learning. Kate’s high point of Wilderness Schooling?
Seeing the children adapt to the outdoor classroom environment, give things a go and developing their self-belief.
Charlotte Kell completed her Fine Art BA Hons at Newcastle University in 2013. Since graduating she has worked in community arts facilitation and as a gardener, in her free time helping with a community garden initiative. Working as a Wilderness Facilitator combines her love of working with young people and educating children creatively in the outdoors. She is proud to be a member of the Wilderness Schooling team, and believes that the program has already had a lasting effect on many of the children who have taken part.
Wilderness Schooling combines education with play and adventure, and children respond to this with enthusiasm, showing impressive initiative during the schooling whilst developing their communication skills and relationships within the groups.
Research is the backbone of Wilderness Schooling – giving weight and credibility to the project. We use experienced researchers to work with pupils and teachers in schools and gather the vital evidence that has established the success of what we do.
Jenna Charlton worked for many years in Professor Anne Le Couteur’s Autism team at Newcastle University. She is experienced in leading and managing complex applied social research programmes from bid stage to data analysis and presentation. Her Doctoral work was in the area of the relationship between behaviour and language in young children and she has developed an innovative tool called Story Nest to facilitate communicative interaction with school children of all ages. Jenna’s research background has allowed her to identify clear principles for education practice and she is excited to see how Wilderness Schooling allows these principles to become practice.