The Kids & Forest Therapy Program is a pro-bono initiative that offers children and young adults that are in an underprivileged situation, social and economical difficulties, the opportunity to enjoy a nature connection.
Individuals or public entities that foster children and young adults in these situations can apply for this program.
Social Changes and Their Consequences
We believe that in the past decades various social changes have affected the way children and young adults interact with nature.
Studies demonstrate that the most significant change is that in their everyday life there is an absence of direct contact with natural settings limiting their opportunity of benefiting from experiences in nature.
This lack of contact with nature is giving rise to an enormous variety of mental and physical health problems.
Define the approach for working with children means working on aspects that can help to eliminate barriers between children and the natural environment and encourage the encounter between both in an unconditioned environment by stimulating:
• Curiosity and inquiry;
• Safety and competence;
• Love and connectedness;
• Cultural repair; and
• At home in nature.
These objectives are worked from direct experience with nature, opening opportunities to connect with what surrounds us in a simple and natural way.
The council practice is held along the walk, during these moments children share experiences, friendships and laughs. These circles let them connect with each person present.
The Councils have a restorative effect of allowing them to settle and consolidate their experiences.
Through this process, they internalized the changes they experience, transcending their habits and perhaps giving them the opportunity to find new and more authentic ways to self-regulate in the world around them.
The aspects mentioned here are part of a process of internalization and change that occurs after being recurrent in natural environments. Consequently, after a walk series perhaps we could see the children change in some of the qualities or aspects listed below:
• Self-confidence, self-acceptance, self-awareness, self-regulation & self-management;
• Enhancing the cognitive and emotional;
• Focus attention and regulate behaviour;
• Enhance creativity, critical thinking and problem solving;
• Enhance mental health and well-being;
• Social-emotional skill development;
• Enhanced positive and decreased negative emotions;
• Enhanced feelings of competence and increased supportive social relationships;
• Reduce ADHD symptoms;
• Enhance impulse control & disruptive control.