Collaboration And Teamwork: How Independent Schools Can Use Outdoor Spaces To Foster Social Skills
Do you maximise your outdoor spaces to foster your students’ social skills? How do you know which activities will best benefit both neurotypical and neuro-diverse students? We look at Chris Packham CBE, famous nature presenter, photographer and author who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and the strengths it has provided him with, despite living in a world that often does not cater for people who are neurodivergent. We show how your school can provide the best attainment and happiness levels for all students with a range of suitable activities for everyone to enjoy.
Chris Packham – Self Regulation and Belonging
The famous nature presenter Chris Packham has talked openly about how the natural world has been a great solace to him in times of social isolation and low mental health. Acknowledging that many experiences for him – as a person with Asperger’s – have been very challenging, he cited symptoms such as obsessions, heightened awareness of sensory issues, finding deviations from usual routines difficult and a lack of confidence in social situations.
He can find certain environments (harsh lights, loud noises and more) intrusive and chaotic which means he finds it very difficult to concentrate. However, his condition also gave him the ability to remember minute details about subjects he cares about and to have an innate understanding of the natural world. From his thoughts to his clothes, he needs order to be able to function calmly and happily. Luckily, he grew up in the countryside near fields and a river; for him, simply being outside in any weather on walks has been beneficial to his emotional wellbeing.
Outdoor Activities for Your School
Chris Packham – Overcoming Challenges with Nature
“It was a pity I couldn’t do an O level in beetle smell. Or rat identification, or birdsong.”