We were featured on BBC Radio Sussex, Allison Ferns show, talking about our recently launched weekly forest school. Curtis Adamczyk, Manager of Aspens’ East Sussex Young People’s Services, who leads the sessions, described how the time in nature boosts the physical and mental wellbeing of young people on the autism spectrum and with learning disabilities.

Listen to the interview here:



The forest school sessions are held at weekends and give East Sussex based young people the opportunity to connect with nature and have fun outdoors whilst learning and achieving new skills.

The sessions are held at our Pembury site which has a beautiful woodland area, and are run by Aspens’ trained staff, who ensure the activities are adapted to the needs of each young person taking part.

The action-packed sessions feature activities such as den building, whittling, charcoal making and woodwork, and each one finishes with a cup of hot chocolate enjoyed around the campfire.

Curtis Adamczyk, Manager of Aspens’ East Sussex Young People’s Services, leads the forest school sessions and says: “Our forest school teaches young people valuable life-skills and boosts their self-confidence, personal development and self-esteem. They give young people on the autism spectrum and with learning disabilities the opportunity to build lasting relationships with their peers and experience the reward of regular achievements. Many young people have minimal connection with nature, so forest school gives them a chance to spend time learning how to have fun outdoors.”

James, aged 20, from Lewes, is one of the young people who attends the forest school sessions. He says: “I have fun chopping and whittling wood, making fires and drinking hot chocolate at forest school! The bit I love most is meeting new friends and being outside in the forest. I always feel tired afterwards, but nicely tired because I’ve been working outside in the fresh air. I’d say to other young people who may be thinking about joining to come along – it’s great - you can get muddy and your mum doesn’t mind!”

James’ mum Diane says: “James’ confidence in his abilities is improving as he challenges himself to do things outside his comfort zone and achieves them. His co-ordination and independence are improving and who doesn’t feel better after spending time in nature?!”

A study by the City of London Corporation into the learning methods of autistic children in nature has shown great benefits to their education and development. The study found “immersing the children in non-intrusive, sensory experiences of the natural world” increased their happiness and wellbeing, helped to balance their emotions and energy, improved communication and social interaction with adults and their peers, enhanced their ability to do tasks independently and increased their confidence to try new things. (Nature Learning Programme, City of London Corporation)

Aspens’ forest school sessions are open to young people aged 8-25 who have had a diagnosis of being on the autism spectrum or a learning disability, and who live in East Sussex.

To arrange a taster session or find out more contact: Curtis at [email protected]

To help us reach more young people and expand our forest school sessions make a donation at the link below and please add FOREST SCHOOL to your message. Thank you for any help you are able to give.

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