The Fox Guild is based in the Geelong Region in Victoria, Australia. We offer a range of activities and groups aimed at getting children and their families into nature.
Geelong and surrounds are abundant with amazing nature settings. From the Surf Coast and the Great Ocean Road, to the You Yangs. Not to mention all the hidden gems along the Barwon River.
So, come and explore, get muddy, get sandy with us!
The Fox Guild offers:
- Little Foxes Nature Playgroup for children aged 0 – 5 and their parents/carers;
- Tree Time Kid’s Club for school aged children aged 5-8 and their parents/carers;
- Family Bush Club a weekend and school holiday event for all ages; and
- Mud Pies for all abilities a group for children aged 0-5 with special needs.
The Fox Guild is owned by Occupational Therapist (OT) and mum to three young kids, Michelle. Michelle has been an Occupational Therapist for 18 years and has experience running groups and individual sessions with children of all ages and ability. She has worked in school, kinder and hospital settings. She has specialist skills in handwriting and fine motor development and a keen interest in using nature as a tool to assist with child development, kinder and school readiness.
Michelle loves getting muddy and climbing trees and in her spare time she will throw kids and tent in the car and head off for an adventure!
The Fox Guild Team comprises
- Liz Armstrong, our office assistant
- Bob Armstrong, our handyman and materials expert
- Aaliyah and Isaac Smith, our Junior Nature Play Workers (in training)
Little Foxes, Tree Time, Family Bush Club, Mud Pies and other activities offered by The Fox Guild, may not seem like ‘therapy’ in the traditional sense… well traditional OT’s were known to engage in basket weaving, and this may be seen at The Fox Guild ;)… There is a hard working OT hiding lots of ‘therapeutic’ benefits in all the activities. And that is the great thing about Occupational Therapy, we can be unconventional! (Thank you Angela Hanscom for your inspiration!)
What is Occupational Therapy (OT)?
Occupational therapists (OT’s) help people participate in activities they need or want to do in their everyday life. OT’s work with people to identify their goals. For children these goals may be personal activities like getting dressed, school activities like writing, and kinder activities like holding a paint brush or climbing up a slide. OT’s use different activities to help address these goals. Sometimes they may be task specific, like actually practicing pulling up pants, or climbing up a ladder. Most of the time however we use seemingly unrelated and unstructured play to help develop the underlying skills required to achieve the goal. For example climbing up a tree. This activity is not only fun, it has many motor, sensory, social and behavioural benefits.
Why Nature Time?
Unstructured play time in nature will:
- Help develop fine motor skills. For example painting a tree with mud requires a good strong grip and this will help develop the small muscles of the hand. Another nature play example is making mud pies. This task requires squeezing, manipulation, different grips to use tools, the sense of touch etc. All skills necessary for holding a pen and writing, or using scissors.
- Help develop posture and balance. For example climbing over a rocky surface challenges balance to stay upright. It helps develop the muscles in the stomach and back which are important for holding the body upright in a chair. Another nature play example is tepee or den building. Hauling a heavy log is as effective as pumping weights in a gym. But to a child, which one is more meaningful. And fun!
- Help develop confidence and problem solving skills. Climbing a tree can be scary. And often climbing up is a whole lot easier than climbing down! But the sense of achievement felt when the task is mastered just gives a child more confidence to go higher! The hardest part of climbing a tree is being the parent at the bottom!
- Help develop imagination and play skills. There is a wonderful magic land at the end of that path with Kings and Queens and Knights with swords. Magical creatures work together to reach this land. They take turns, they offer suggested paths.
- The benefits are as endless as your child’s imagination!
- Here is a link to our current session plan with details about specific activities and their benefits.