I have been Head of Education at the Centre for 11 years. I love having this opportunity to work with children outside the classroom setting and I enjoy being in a position in which I can encourage respect for our environment. I believe that we all need to act sustainably for our collective futures and I believe our education team offer a balanced view of our chosen topic. We tackle the subject in many diverse ways all of which have the hands on element that make the outdoor classroom such a joy.
Residential visits are very special to me because I feel we can really engage with the children over a period of time and encourage lasting positive memories. I enjoy the challenge of finding new ways to bring our subject alive but of course I am equally committed to the provision of a safe environment for this learning.
My education career pathway began when I worked with children at the Wordsworth Trust in Cumbria in 1991 as part of the museum education team and lead interactive poetry walks up on the wild fells. I became determined to follow a path in education outside the classroom and to develop this alongside my interest in the environment. Joining The Sustainability Centre in 2001 I became part of the team that helped to create the Centre in its many aspects but I focused from day one on finding ways of teaching around the topic of sustainability with children and Young people. I have spent many years creating, defining and refining the service to schools and young people and now with 11 years of experience of working with the under 18s in an outdoor setting I lead the team who deliver safe and engaging activities to schools and provide the holiday activities. I teach mostly Primary day and residential and some Secondary groups sessions but the team also provide a special service to children who struggle at school and those excluded from mainstream schooling.
I have a BA Hons degree in the creative arts which I draw on when devising new takes on old subjects but I am also trained as a Forest School Level 3 Leader and have County Outdoor Leader Open Country training along with a wealth of Health and Safety knowledge gained from training courses and from experience. I have brought a lifetime of experience in other fields to the job of creating and managing our education service. There is so much more to do in the next 10 years and I am looking forward to the new challenges particularly the development of the eco lodge.
I have worked at the centre for 12 years. Initially as a volunteer; I now teach woodland and wilderness survival skills to adults and children. I have completed courses in the NCFE Advanced Bushcraft Award, Forest School, NCFE Level 3 Certificate in Creative Craft, and I have extensive Tracking training. My skills include shelter building, fire lighting, navigation, tool work, facilitating team building games and sensory awareness.
I specialise in working with hard to reach young people including those with emotional needs, learning difficulties or problems with drugs and alcohol abuse and offending behaviour. Students on the verge of exclusion at School or having problems with an academic approach to learning, flourish with their time spent learning outdoor skills at The Centre. Groups that I have worked with include local Secondary Schools, the Adoption Service and West Sussex County Council.
My favourite part of my role is seeing the young people I work with gain in confidence and self esteem.
I also offer team building days to businesses and organisations.
I have worked at the Sustainability centre for 7 years, 3 years working for Permaculture Magazine and 4 years as Education Officer for the centre. I have lived on site at the centre for the past 2 years in my cosy yurt with solar power for electricity, and wood burner for heat. I love living so close to nature.
I work mainly organising the Secondary School visits and programme and teach on College, Secondary and Primary visits. Amongst the wide range of activities I enjoy passing on my enthusiasm for discovering new and creative ways of using recycled and natural materials for use in buildings. I also love a good singsong around a campfire!
I have City & Guilds Level 2 teacher training and experience of working in a college with students with mental health and severe learning difficulties. I have also completed Forest School Level 1 and Outdoor Leader training.
I spent 2 years living and working on volunteer programmes in South and central America, including conservation projects in the Guatemalan Rainforest, and an Environmental Centre in Bolivia, where I first learnt about sustainable building techniques and Permaculture. I have studied Permaculture Design and Ecovillage Design covering the social, economic, environmental and world view aspects of Sustainability. I also have a degree in Art Design and Media, and I enjoy bringing this creativity to the learning experience.
All of our teaching staff are CRB checked and trained in First Aid.