Tender are the Trees

How do you help a troubled nine year old understand why they’re so angry all the time?

Once a week, a group of nine 8-11 year old children in Aberdeen are picked up in the morning from school or home. They drive for half an hour, out of the city centre, to the grounds of one of the Camphill estate schools. They change into full waterproofs and for three hours they walk in a big circle, taking in woodland, a stream and a big empty slope to play on. During the walk, they have free reign; they can play, run, shout, hide. All they need to do is follow the route with the group. They stay coming to the group for as long as is necessary.

Nature Nurture is a group that helps children with emotional and behavioural difficulties learn how to manage their own overwhelming emotions. They are referred by social services or their school; they are the children who are constantly suspended, on half-time lesson plans, in care or in and out of foster homes. Most of them are from families that struggle with substance misuse, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and mental health problems.

Over time, the changes in behaviour are extraordinary. Dens are built, fires made, games imagined, swings constructed, lambs fed, donkeys ridden and marshmallows toasted. Children who had no friends, and no understanding of how to make them, walk away with the experience of seeing and being seen.

Run by Terri and Daniel, each with over 20 years experience of working with children in the Camphill movement, the group is an example of how nature and nurturing relationships can help children from the most difficult backgrounds learn how to be themselves in the world, and with others.

This clip is a short extract for the organisation to use in presentations. Full film: 40 minutes
Filmed and directed by Amy Rose
Edited by Adam Thomas
Music by Ed Dowie