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'We're really in a wood aren't we?'

Harvey: We're in the secret forest. This is someone's house. It's someone creature's house. Someone's going to come in here and say 'get out of my house!'

Bryony: Hide!

Harvey: We're really in a wood aren't we?

Bryony: We're lost!

 

Reception children from Cromwell Park Primary School explore the snowy woods in Hinchingbrooke Country Park

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'I can hear the tree singing'

Ellis:  Did you know there is a fox living in that hole?

Katie:  Birds live in there with sticks and leaves.

Evie:  I've found a treasure chest.

Claudia:  All of these haven't but only this tree have.

 

The tree with the hole in Homefield Park, a source of many stories for children from Histon Early Years Centre.

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'We just have to go a bit longer'

'I'll show you the magic trick; if we went out of that orange thing and we went onto the bridge, it's really magic, we just have to go a bit longer.  How magic is this?  If we go that way we get back to the minibus!'

 

Fyion and Alex from Kidzone Nursery explore the boardwalks in Lattersey Nature Reserve.

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'I am going to jump over the whole world.'

The familiar and the fantastic play right through these children’s plans.  They don’t always do what they say they are going to do, but that isn’t really the point – it is a chance for them to share their sense of coming alive in the woods, and it allows us to hear what they wish for as well as what they can do already.  It isn't entirely surprising when we hear Kian say:  My name is Kian and I'm going to jump over the whole world.  But it is fantastic.  It is playful and true, impossible and completely authentic.

 

Ruby class from Cromwell Park Primary School in Hinchingbrooke County Park.

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'I was born on the climbing tree.'

Kiemute:  I was born on the climbing tree

Nabil:  I was born in space and Mars

Hayden:  I was born in the sky, on a cloud

Tyler:  I was born in a cat’s cave

 

A morning conversation with reception children from Shirley Primary School in Bramblefields Nature Reserve.

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'This tree is bigger than earth.'

Adam: This tree is bigger than earth.

Tania: I can climb big trees.

Yana: If the sun is bigger than earth it is really enormous.

 

Just through the gate on their first ever visit to the woods, reception children from The Spinney Primary School already contemplate whole worlds, relationships, and immensity.

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Footprints

The vast majority of children have few connections with the natural world. The dangers of such impoverishment to children’s sensitivity, creativity and understanding of life are immense. CCI shows how important it is to enable children to reconnect and open doors that have been closed for far too many children for far too long.
John Bangs, former Head of Education at NUT, Honorary Fellow at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education and Visiting Professor at the Institute of Education

CCI's Footprints programme works in local wild spaces. It supports communities to play, learn and work together by making first-hand and creative connections. Through workshops, supported projects, and programmes of professional development, we engage with children, families, carers and educators of all ages, in all kinds of spaces - from country parks and local nature reserves to Victorian cemeteries and reclaimed brick works.

Read about the impact of this work here or explore the items below - playing with the filters will sort them according to your interests.

Our Footprints resources celebrate and share elements from a number of our recent Footprints projects. Our first Fantastical Guide for the Wildly Curious invites you to see Hinchingbrooke Country Park in extraordinary ways, and four smaller booklets collect together the stories, fascinations, and experiences of young children exploring their local wild spaces (Outside/Inside, A Story of Smallness and Light, 37 Shadows, Trail of Curiosity and Imagination). Running into adventure is a short film about the different opportunities for both physical and imaginative exploring with two and three year olds.  'Here I come to the jungle' illustrates how storying has become a particular focus for the reception classes in the nearby primary school.

CCI has a close partnership with Spinney Primary School in south Cambridge which has a small tangled woods on its doorstep. Our work with children, educators, families and the wider community can be explored here.

Schools, families and individuals can all get involved in our Footprints projects – look at our events for information on what is happening next, or follow our project diaries to see where we are currently working. An evaluation report from the 2012 supported projects commissioned by Cambridgeshire County Council's Early Years Service with two early years settings in the county is here.

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Special offer on CCI publications

Three publications for £10.00

12/12/2018
Family adventures in oranges, reds and yellows

New faces are welcomed to outdoor adventuring.

14/11/2018
Seven birds and a Scribble Scrumble

New stories from the Mayfield Primary School wild space.

12/11/2018
The dream grasshopper

Outdoor adventuring in a corner of the school grounds.

05/11/2018
Support our work

24/06/2018
Fantastical Bats and Habitats

Highlights from our community day with Offord Primary School.

23/06/2018
Being bats

Searching for signs of animal occupation in the local church.

22/06/2018
How do the bats get in and out?

Children in Offord create structures for animals

20/06/2018
A nest for a fat pigeon

Offord children think about where animals make their homes.

11/06/2018
Would you like fire coming out of your ankle?

Exploring the relationships between human and animal ecology.

31/05/2018
Wild Exchange Games - for anyone to play anywhere

A new CCI resource for creative adventurers.

17/01/2018
Fact and fiction in a garden full of stories

Wild exchange workshops in a Cambridge College garden.

21/11/2017
Wild exchanges in Emmanuel College Gardens

You are where family workshops for the Festival of Ideas.

30/10/2017
A many layered map

Discover more about our new map for Love's Farm.

17/10/2017
Who can I be now?

A wild exchange with Kevin Jones, former Headmaster at St John’s College School

12/09/2017
Places, names and invisible lands

A new wild exchange with Dr Kevin Hughes from the British Antarctic Survey.

08/09/2017
Snowdrops and superpowers

A wild exchange with Flis Plent, Cambridge University Botanic Gardens.

22/08/2017
The Black Ground: Bideford Black

A wild exchange with artist and researcher, Lydia Halcrow.

03/08/2017
A sky goddess, underground discoveries & Minerva world

24 hours of adventuring with the community of Love’s Farm.

20/07/2017
We seriously did see a spaniel

New wild exchanges with families at the Forest of Imagination in Bath.

14/07/2017
 

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