Early morning at Checkendon, 7th November – the air was fresh and our team was in a great mood setting up for the day ahead. At 9.30am, the bus pulled up – our first 10 INSIDE OUTers from Thameside Primary School had arrived with their teacher Ingrid Burton. I saw Ingrid’s beaming smile and watched the children hop off one by one – a wave of happiness rushed over me.
I led them inside the Livery Cottage to a big inviting room with high wooden beams. Using my magic microphone, I introduced the day – “today is a day all about happiness because at INSIDE OUT we believe feeling good about ourselves is the most important thing in the world… it’s about giving things a go… about showing you ways you can tap into the happiness inside you whenever and wherever you are.”
The children took to the mindfulness activities like a duck to water. There were actually ducks involved. It was great to see each child learn how to notice and express their inner worlds by relating what they were feeling to the weather. They loved being out in the beautiful woods of Checkendon, trundling through the leaves and mud in their boots… making hedgehogs with their own hands and building happy homes for them to live in out of sticks and leaves and whatever they could find. And then there were the horses… ohh the horses. To say that the children were besotted with the horses is an understatement.
They found the 5 Keys to Happiness on their wonderful woodland hunt… and understood that the key to happiness lives ‘inside’ them.
They loved the postcards almost as much as the rainbow coloured Sharpie’s, which they used to draw their memories of the day.
By the time the children hopped back on the bus at 3.30pm, seeds had been planted, sparks had been lit… and there was definitely magic in the air.