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Mindfulness in the Woods

Mindfulness is a word that is becoming more common to hear and a practice that is growing and benefitting many people from all walks of life in our society. Simply put, it is a mental state achieved by focusing awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting feelings, thoughts, and physical sensations. We recently concluded an 8-week Mindfulness in the Woods programme* with P4s, 5s and 6s from Lochinver Primary School. The sessions offered an experiential, hands-on and progression-based approach to learning about Mindfulness. The aims of the programme included equipping our local young people with tools to nurture happiness and kindness, tend to difficult feelings while developing resilience, and feel empowered to make choices about their life and learning through increasing connection with themselves, others and the environment around them. All of this took place in the woods, with a tepee tent for shelter and the sounds, smells and sensations of nature to enhance our explorations. The subject for each of us was our own mind, and some deep and interesting thoughts and conversations came out as

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Twenty-nine teens, four days, and an Island

Early last Tuesday morning, twenty-nine Ullapool High School S1 students arrived on Isle Martin and set up camp for a four-day residential trip. During this time, they took part in various activities including kayaking, den-building, bird-spotting, seashore exploration, woodland immersion, and a mini-expedition to another part of the island. And there was plenty of time in the mornings and evenings to chill out with some art-work, play games around base camp and log experiences in the diary room. In the spirit of limited electricity and enjoying being in the moment of activities and island life, we also incorporated a digital detox into the trip. Aspects surrounding this entered conversation quite naturally with comments including “I’ve enjoyed not thinking about my phone” and “it’s been so nice to sit and chat with friends without phones distracting us”. It was a brilliant week, and we hope the S1s enjoyed themselves as much as we did. We are still recovering from all the planning and implementing, here in the CALL office, and words are not coming easily, so below are a few pictures

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John Muir Award “spring”-ing back into action

As the daffodils bloom, buds emerge on trees and the mornings are increasingly filled with the poetic profanities of birds beginning to stake their claim on nesting sites and seek mates, so too our John Muir Award is springing into action after a brief winter hibernation. Kicking off with a whole year group session on 6th March, the P7s reflected on their Award activity so far and explored further who John Muir was and what he meant when he said, “we all need beauty as well as bread”, with a deeper exploration of what the word “beauty” actually means. The day culminated with walking 1000 steps (in the spirit of Muir’s 1000-mile walk) around the green by Ullapool river, stopping every 200 steps for a pause to notice the beauty around us. We have since led an Explore day with Lochinver P7s, initially splitting into pairs and searching the area for nature objects to match descriptive opposite words, and then trying to guess those words of other group’s findings. Later in the morning we filmed nature documentaries about the wildlife

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