Frequently asked questions
Which age range does Wild for Words work with?
Children aged between 8 and 12.
(We are not yet insured for the lower age range.)
Will you work with mixed age groups?
Yes, we work with very small groups and individuals. We will ensure that all in the group access and benefit from the activities at their own level.
How is Wild for Words different from English in school?
Firstly, we are outside and active for as much of each day as possible.
Secondly, children are encouraged to look at the world more closely, to take their time to create stories free from rules and restraints, and to listen carefully to selected stories and poems to feed their imaginations.
Finally, they are also shown how to play with words, so that they discover the impact a single word can have. They learn to use stories and poems to explore feelings and ideas in their own way.
How does Wild for Words work?
By focusing on the natural world, closely linked to the world of stories, poems and the imagination, children are encouraged to be active and inquisitive, and to experiment and make connections. When they write, the words stem from these thoughts and feelings to create something they can be proud of.
Will Wild for Words help my child to enjoy reading?
We stimulate children through many extracts and poems being read aloud to and by them (reading often takes place in small groups). Texts are carefully chosen to be relevant to the activities of the day, and accessible to each child. These stories and poems not only feed their imaginations and make them curious, but lead them into a world of stories that they might not have encountered on their own. It may take time, but after a few Garden Days we are usually able to recommend books that your child will be eager to read at home.
Can Wild for Words work if my child hates writing?
It will work, but maybe not immediately. The first step is to help to build your child’s confidence: most children who dislike reading and writing feel this way because they believe that they are unable to, and too often they are afraid of making mistakes.
At Wild for Words there is no marking or grading, instead we edit and improve the writing together, as a positive and exciting process which they enjoy. Once children have written something THEY are pleased with, they begin to relax.
Can Wild for Words help if my child is dyslexic?
Yes, very much so! Children needs to articulate their thoughts, and will welcome the freedom to experiment. If there is a problem with recording ideas, we will transcribe for them as soon as they seem to be struggling.
There’s plenty of time, prior to the course, to let us know how much support with writing your child needs.
My children are already keen and gifted writers – can Wild for Words benefit them?
Absolutely, yes! Creative children who already have a natural love of stories and writing are often frustrated at school, mostly due to lack of time and opportunity to express themselves, and sometimes find it difficult to concentrate in a classroom full of other children. They will enjoy the freedom of ‘no restraints’ where, with support and encouragement in a beautiful setting, ‘anything goes’ and they have ample time to explore new ideas.
What is a typical Wild for Wordsday?
In a typical day the children will make something (usually from natural materials), or perform a drama activity based around a theme – such as ‘journeys’. They then explore the idea of character and setting – using the garden, meadow and surrounding stream. Who, where, what, when? As they observe and imagine it gradually becomes real around them.
The teachers read extracts from children’s fiction and poems, based on the theme, and we play word games – and investigate language in a playful way – to grow their vocabulary, and gently revisit sentence level skills, to enhance their writing. The children will also read individually to a teacher, and have time to share and edit their writing, and they will work in pairs or small groups to share poetry and story ideas.
How does learning English outdoors work?
Children are in a happy place where they are busy, stimulated and supported, while performing a combination of physical and mental activities. Children associate being outside with being free and being playful: this suits many learners – particularly those who find it hard to sit still! The Wild for Words method works because the children are not aware how much work they are really doing!
Much of the stimulus is immediate and appealing: the children are energetic, busy and eager, so encouraging them to search – for example – for the perfect word or sentence to describe a scene or an event becomes easy. In addition – because they are in very small groups – we help them to succeed by building their self-confidence.
How many days should I book?
We do not run one day courses because it’s very difficult to make a difference in such a short time. Two days is the minimum course length and you’ll see continuous progress if your child attends more than once!
What do the children need to bring?
Children will need appropriate clothes and shoes for a day outdoors, a packed lunch and a book which they are currently reading or have recently enjoyed.
What do you do in bad weather?
We are very lucky to have a wooden hut, a small barn, a roundy house, a reading platform, a bell tent and shepherds hut! All these serve us well, so should we - reluctantly - ever have to retreat into the real house, it wouldn’t be for long!
Will Wild for Words benefit my child’s grammar, punctuation and spelling?
Finer points of grammar, punctuation and spelling will be taught as they arise and when they are needed and useful. These aspects of English language should improve with time, but they are not our priority on Garden Days. This is partly as most schools tackle these aspects well, but also as they do not lend themselves so readily to the Wild for Words experience and purpose.
How can I improve my child’s grammar, punctuation and spelling?
Individual coaching can be arranged.