The principal and I set about planning an action packed day out in the local forest: solo activities, group games, a nature quiz, wood fire snacks and hot tea. I would integrate some of the group activities I had learnt during my forest school training, I would also share some of the current research around the difference between true risk and perceived risk in outdoor settings. Here are some interesting quotes on the subject:
- it’s very important to engage children in calculated, age-appropriate, purposeful and meaningful levels of risk
- Good risks and hazards are acceptable and hold few surprises. Bad risks offer no obvious developmental or other benefits.
- The first step is to acknowledge children’s competencies and capacity to navigate risks and hazards, and that recognizing and experiencing risk in childhood is a fundamental component of healthy development and learning. In doing so, we are setting the stage for children to begin navigating risk in healthy and controlled doses.
The feedback I received from the teachers for the day was very positive - many of them were amazed by how long it had really been since they had spent time in nature, just being. Not jogging, walking the dog or skiing, just sitting there and taking it all in (and in this case in the pouring rain!).
So in reality remembering all that nature has to offer, how to play with sticks and leaves, how to be quiet in nature and spend time together away from screens and schedules was a day well spent!