This has been written by guest blogger Janus. Share in her thoughtful observations from a life learning outdoors, and now in retirement with her family. Your comments are welcome.
Thoughts about my grandchild:
As a retired early years headteacher I now have time to enjoy watching just one child engage with the outdoors. My grand daughter at the age of three already feels the need to be outside for much of the day, recently crying because we adults couldn’t cope with staying out in heavy rain. As she walks around local parks, gardens and natural areas she is constantly collecting twigs, stones, pine cones etc which she plays with. Her knowledge of different birdsong is impressive and her observations are deep and meaningful. I have a real worry that these experiences are being neglected in the curriculum of today. At my school we were fortunate to have a new build added onto our Edwardian building. We were able to influence the design by ensuring that each year group building was linked to another by covered walk ways so that we were never inside all day, these covered areas were great spaces during wet weather playtimes too. Our children spent long periods outside and had logs, tyres and milk and bread crates to build and play with, all cheap to source. These were regularly supplemented by natural materials. Ofsted always liked our outdoor experiences, commenting on developing resilience and learning to manage risk.
What I liked was that the children controlled their experiences, they were open ended and different for each individual, really helping them to understand the world around them.