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Stargazing, swings & self-esteem

Building resilience and wellbeing on an OWL Residential

They helped us to try new things and I learnt that we can do it if we try hard.
Being in a vast open space that was safe had a big calming effect on the pupils.

Pupils from Holy Trinity C of E Primary School, London visited Ufton Court in Berkshire for three 2-night residentials as part of The OWL Collaboration programme. Being in Hackney, the school’s catchment area has limited green space and for many pupils, this was their first visit to the countryside.

One of the key aims of the residential was to help develop pupils’ confidence and self-esteem through a range of nature-based and adventure activities. Caring for the farm animals taught the pupils about empathy and responsibility, as well as encouraging them to try new tasks to develop confidence. Building dens and preparing meals required pupils to work together towards a common aim whilst experiencing time outside in nature had a transformative effect on some of the pupils.

Teachers cited a wide range of emotional barriers faced by pupils at school and how, as a result of the visits, pupils had lowered their guard and become more able to express their feelings. They also noticed how many of the activities required individuals to be supportive and empathetic towards each other and felt that the group had grown in both camaraderie and confidence. One teacher commented,

Stargazing really helped them see the value of being quiet and just watching and realising that they were only a small part of a much bigger world.

Following the OWL programme, teachers also reported that pupils had become more involved in other school clubs and activities.

The residential was made possible through The OWL Collaboration, find out more about this programme here: