The Dice Project (2011)

Using the natural world to support young refugees & asylum seekers to improve their English, bond a group & discover their wild surroundings

See Fernhill Farm Film

This collaboration with Young Bristol and Bristol’s City Academy was created to support refugees and asylum seekers with low-level English to access nature, and to use the natural environment to help these newcomers discover their surroundings, to bond their study group and provide an inspirational context to boost their English learning. 

Three weekly sessions took the group through a progression of accessing nature locally and further afield. Beginning with a nature walk from their school along the Frome Valley they progressed to a daytrip to Goblin Coombe to learn bushcraft in a typical English woodland.  Finally the group visited a working farm where they tried sheep shearing and learnt about fleece production and life on a farm (see above photos).

The young people fed back that they preferred learning English outside the classroom. This was partly because they were able to have more context to the English (e.g. turn left on the walk, be careful of walking around the fire...) and enjoyed learning words like names of trees & other natural phenomena by actually seeing and not just relating to pictures in books.  They all said that learning new words in exciting places helped them remember them and that it was great to know they could move out of the grey into the green so close to home. 

A photo film made of the project formed part of the evaluation which reflects the enjoyment of the participants at these first-time discoveries and a new recognition amongst staff in the value of this way of working to enhance well-being and, in turn, learning.


"I learnt how to make a fire and I enjoyed making the bread.”
Participant, 12, Dice Project trip to Fernhill Farm (2011)