Plan needed to get children back outside

Gone are the days where children play outside until the street lights come on.

Playgrounds would be full of “dangerous” equipment like monkey bars, responsible for broken arms, and trees that would scrape knees as children climbed.

Getting a bike under the Christmas tree or at a birthday was the greatest gift.

A garbage bin was often converted into cricket stumps at the end of the driveway or the football kicked on the street.

For many reasons these behaviours of past generations have changed.

Safety has been the cause for change.

However, technology has also played a role in how children spend their afternoons and weekends.

At restaurants, you often see kids on devices, cars come with televisions and teenagers have half a dozen different accounts for social media.

The advantages of technology is the ability for parents to have some resemblance of peace in the car or even a quiet night out.

And not all technology is bad and mind numbing. It can actually be educational.

But in the same breath, technology doesn’t give us all the answers.

There is so much to learn that cannot be achieved by looking at the screen.

Not everyone learns the same way. There are three main categories of learning –  visual, auditory or kinaesthetic. 

Just like the traditional classroom doesn’t suit all students, outdoor or hands-on activities could have no learning value for others.

Many schools have adapted to various learning styles through particular programs, such as farms or vegetable gardens.

A teacher once shared that a young boy, about grade 5, had no focus in class. He was often a distraction to the teacher and fellow classmates. The school introduced the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program and suddenly he was interested. He was working out fractions thanks to cooking and measuring in the garden.

These days, health and safety plays a significant role in our workplaces. This is an important aspect of any organisation – everyone should have the right to leave a place in the same condition they arrived.

But safety can appear to go too far when fact sheets on the use of staplers need to be read.

This is why outdoor learning must be discussed. It is somewhat back to the future, but in today’s world, we need an action plan to get kids active.

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