Outdoor play – Safety vs Risk?

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The atmosphere is flowing, relaxed and there is barely a mention of time.

 

I love that appetites are stimulated by fresh air and movement and that the end of the session is guided by the position of the sun in the sky.

In my own childhood outdoor play was enormously valued and encouraged by my family and extended family, so I have sometimes struggled with the idea that it is a place to ‘let off steam’.

For the past few months I have been a witness to some of the most incredible learning and discovery right before my eyes during our outdoor play sessions.

It is not surprising that I would see and hear this when amongst the children as they have responded so intuitively to their beautiful surroundings instantly each visit.

There is no time to waste when there is wealth of opportunity around them to feel uninhibited with a canvas of green all around them.

Once signed in, the children virtually leap to the first tree before them and scale it to a height they feel comfortable with.

For children who may have any slight hesitation or less interest in tree climbing, there are lots of spaces to get lost, to create art with natural materials or to simply enjoy getting their hands in the dirt or sand.

Only occasionally there might be a child who finds themselves faced with a challenge- but there is literally something ‘in the air’ as they find their confidence and courage to stop and consider their next move back to safety.

In this serene setting there is a veil of calm that cloaks us, and nothing seems to be hurried or rushed in any way.

The children seem to be able to solve their dilemmas simply, and any instruction from adults seems minimal because they are listening to themselves and taking action.

One recurring experience that describes this is when a child may have climbed to a new height they haven’t encountered before, but are easily able to pause, consider their next move and continue on with their play.

Within a matter of moments, they are ready for us to step back and let them return to a space that adults don’t need to be!

Best of all is seeing the children enquiring, engaging and enthusiastically driving much of their own learning independently, and easily connected to our precious planet, knowing that this is part of the foundation for their whole life ahead of them.