Dúlra is a Kildare-based educational organisation running outdoor forest school sessions for children
NEWS & EVENTS
what is Dúlra?
Dúlra follows the Forest School ethos and includes a lot of Irish language, folklore and traditions in the sessions. Dúlra runs afterschool clubs, nature walks, workshops, and holiday camps with primary school children in Kildare. Dúlra is a member of the Irish Forest School Association, Forest Schools Association (UK), and Cill Dara le Gaeilge.
Our Forest School activities include:
- Team games & challenges,
- Nature study of local environment (plants and animals),
- Arts & crafts using natural materials,
- Campfire cooking,
- Bushcraft & shelter building,
- Knots & rope skills,
- Singing, folklore & storytelling.
What is Forest School?
Forest School is a participant-led, play-based outdoor education approach, facilitated by trained professionals, that takes place in a wild space for regular sessions throughout the year. It addresses the physical, intellectual, emotional, communication and spiritual development of the participants. During the sessions, the participants explore their space, play games, learn about nature, learn bushcraft and tool skills, and do a lot of physical challenges.
Forest School benefits people in the following ways; increasing participants’ nature connection, addressing mental health through time spent actively outdoors, educating children and families about nature, improving health through physical activity, and building stronger community ties between local children and families who attend Forest School together. Forest School also helps address the specific needs of minority communities who can be marginalised - older people, especially those with dementia; children, young people and adults with special needs; those living with mental health issues or with a-typical minds, and new arrivals for whom language is a barrier, especially refugees. There's lots of research on the benefits of Forest School here.
Learn more about Forest Schools from the Irish Forest School Association.
To facilitate children and young people in developing and maintaining a strong healthy relationship with themselves, their community and their environment (self, place and others).
To encourage a reverence and wonder for our natural world.
To promote civic and social participation
To strengthen children’s sense of their identity, their cultural inheritance, and their connection to their natural environment through the use of Irish.
To promote a positive relationship with informal Irish and bilingual environments.
To promote the 6 Forest School principles set out by the Forest School Association (see below).
6 Principles of Forest School
- Regular Sessions – Forest school is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than a one-off or infrequent visits; the cycle of planning observation, adaption and review links each session.
- Woodland setting – Forest school takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
- Community – Forest school uses a range learner-centered processes to create a community for being, development, and learning.
- Holistic development – Forest school aims to promote the holistic development or all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
- Opportunity to take risks – Forest school Offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
- Qualified practitioners – Forest school is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.
Ceardlanna Bithéagsúlachta: Dúlra’s workshops to celebrate #biodiversityweek2023 are taking place in schools across Kildare and Wicklow. Children learn about native flora and fauna, habitats, food chains and make wildflower seed bombs. Here taking place at Kilkea National School; a great group of enthusiastic, engaged and curious youngsters!
Being taught and trusted to use full-size tools gives the children so much self-confidence at Dúlra.
The children having some “mindfulness” time at their chosen quiet spots in the forest.
Beautiful bracket fungi which the children call fairy balconies!
Dam building is a favourite with 5 year olds. Young children are drawn to activities that involve rolling and dragging and pushing – movements that develop their proprioception, balance and core strength. Not to mention all those hydro-engineering skills, and best of all – the mud!