Monday, May 11, 2015

Outdoors

video


Tim Gill is one of the UK’s leading thinkers on childhood, and an effective advocate for positive change in children’s everyday lives. This video and the below graphic are from Tim Gill's Twitter page: https://twitter.com/timrgill  Gill is talking about older children having the freedom to be part of the wider community.  As he said the issues around this are complex and I wonder if one of the issues is risk aversion.  Are we cotton wooling children to the degree that they would not be able to cope at the age of 6 or 7 to explore their community? Have they been given the opportunity to make decisions about their play, learn from mistakes, set their own challenges and goals and move into a backyard that is exciting and supportive of them as learners?
Children need to have access to outdoor spaces.  This is an important issue for childcare.  All to often children are unable to freely move between inside and outside spaces due to the ratios within our centres or gates that need a teacher to open them - as the photos show for the St Peters Centre in the last post.  Teachers need to be reflective about their practice and they need to be the advocates for children to ensure that they get the care and education they deserve 100% of the time, not just on the good days when our ratios are better or for that hour that is between morning tea and lunch when we can manage to have the doors open.   Gill talks about the children's shrinking horizons - are we adding to this in ECE by actually reducing children's opportunities to have the freedom to explore even in our  backyard.
Outdoor play and the importance of risk and challenge for children would make a wonderful basis for an action research question for centres who are thinking about providing the best opportunities for children to become thinkers and learners within an environment that supports their innate curiosity. 


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