SEND in Nature engagement
Nature is not only a wonderful teacher, but offers a multisensory environment to stimulate all sorts of learning and wellbeing. This goes for everyone. Some museums may have natural history collections they can use to engage with, others may have suitable outdoor spaces and gardens in which to take the experience outside.
SEND engagement in Nature and natural science can actually be trail blazing and lead by example, with some SEND children and young people being so adept at using their senses others may have ‘switched off’ or diverted from as developmental milestones are progressed through and spoken language is reached. In this way, some SEND children and young people can become the teachers, showing others how to truly connect their senses and bodies with the natural environment.
There is lots written and researched about this topic but keeping things plain and simple really can deliver results in creating valuable and meaningful experiences outdoors. Everything from storytelling to messy play and feely boxes can start a ‘conversation’ and allow tuning in to the stories nature itself tells.
For some inspiration, take a look at Museum of English Rural Life’s work Everybody Outdoors
For Citizen Science projects, check out the Urban Nature Project | Natural History Museum
The people at Wild Happy Well inspire people with the science behind nature and wellbeing and you can read their report (PDF)delivered with Carl Newbold and Sam Bowen, who together wrote the SEND guidance for the Urban Nature Project in 2021.
For a beautiful SEND accessible nature activity have a look at Alison Beever’s wildflower seed bombs (PDF) activity which she created with her son Mylor.