Our vision is to facilitate a culture where it is considered healthy and normal for children to play unsupervised in their natural environment.
There is a substantial body of evidence supporting the benefits of play, being outdoors in nature, and children learning through independence and self-directed decision making.
For centuries, children experienced the freedom to roam in their local area from an early age; gradually going further and for longer. The phrase ‘we stayed out till it got dark or were hungry’ resonates with a significant proportion of the adult population.
Such freedoms have gradually disappeared, and it is no longer ‘the norm’ for young children to have the opportunity to explore nature without adults.
Typically, children are not experiencing any unsupervised time in the public realm until an average age of 10.5 years old, whereas even for their parents, it was 7.5 years old.
‘I whole heartily support & believe in this project. As children we were given our freedom to play out all day long completely unsupervised. It’s innate & allows for so many benefits & skills that all children need.’
What Happens in a Session?
Our sessions remove the barriers that prevent parents giving their children the freedoms that many of us enjoyed at their age, by putting a degree of structure in place for families to feel comfortable joining our sessions. We also run sessions for those not ready to access free roaming, to begin their journey of independence in nature.
We promote children’s independence and advocate for their right to play freely, with minimal adult supervision, in a world where so much of their time is increasingly structured.
Who We Are
ROAM was founded in 2018 by Naomi Fisher and Lisa Walke, both mums themselves, and friends for more years than they dare to count! They are both passionate advocates for children’s free play in nature, which motivated them to take positive action, and ROAM was born!
Naomi is a community architect with a passion for facilitating people-led action to make positive change. She was inspired by seeing her own children’s innate desire to experience a form of play she had enjoyed as a child, and yet no longer felt possible. Naomi is ROAM’s Strategic Director, developing the organisation’s work through new partnerships and networks, with oversight of structure, business development and governance.
Lisa is a primary school teacher who believes that free play in nature is essential for the development of children. She has seen children thrive through self-directed play in the great outdoors.
Lisa is ROAM’s Operations Director, responsible for organising and delivering the various sessions; having oversight of session staff and volunteers, is our safeguarding lead, and is the primary contact with families and partner organisations.
Naomi and Lisa are supported by ROAM’s Session Leaders Kaleigh Atkinson and Laura Billingham. Kaleigh and Laura are both qualified Forest School leaders and experienced play practictioners, and get involved in various aspects of the charity, including planning and leading sessions, and monitoring.
ROAM is very fortunate to have an enthusiastic band of volunteers too, as well as a skilled Board of Trustees.
Do get in touch if you’re interested in volunteering for ROAM.