Thursday, 4 November 2010

putting nature back on the curriculum...


one in five children have never climbed a tree, said a report* commissioned by Eden TV in August 2010. Shocking isn't it? The National Trust agree, their research indicates that families spend an average of 43 hours a week on the sofa! But to author Richard Louv, this isn't new, his book 'Last Child in the Woods' published in 2005, coined the phrase 'nature deficit disorder,' identifies parental fear as a huge barrier to todays child exploring the natural world.

You may be aware, this is something I feel very passionate about, read here, here and here! And as I believe in practicing what you preach, from this week, yours truly will be leading some outdoor sessions with the reception class at my children's school! I am greatly inspired by both the Steiner and Forest School approach to environmental education and am currently researching age appropriate activities that will really benefit and compliment the early years curriculum.

I had always been really nervous about sharing my opinions of outdoor education, and didn't want to appear as a 'pushy' parent by making suggestions. But with my youngest now in full time education, I found myself with a day off a week, and thought I would ask the head teacher if I could help out in anyway. I had thought she would say "come in and help with listening to the children read", but instead she mentioned the reception teachers would be really happy for me to help with outdoors education! The teachers are so enthusiastic and welcoming, that I would recommend that if anyone is also thinking about helping out at their local school, do it, teachers are so tied up with paperwork and curriculum stuff that all help offered is usually very gratefully received, and ultimately means that our children benefit!

*The survey of 2,000 children aged eight to 12 years was specially commissioned by TV channel Eden to celebrate the launch of the Eden Inspires campaign, which aims to re-engage children with nature.

10 comments:

  1. As a teacher I am so thrilled to hear you say this! Parental help is a huge help and can really contribute to a richer learning environment for the children.

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  2. I totally believe in outdoor play too. We live in Birmingham so during the week it's mainly our parks we make use of, but we do go pretty much every day, even if it is just an hour or so. Or at the moment as I put the garden to rest, she helps me do that.
    There is no bad weather just wrong clothing.

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  3. I bet you'll have great fun. Reception class children love the outdoors & learning that way. I did a Forest Schools course and that was great fun.

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  4. I am very interested to hear how you get on and what you do. I have a child in Reception class, and I also share your opinions. In the past however, the head at the school was very reluctant to have parents coming to help at the school, but now there has been a change in management and they are looking for suggestions from parents. So I would love to push for more of the outdoor learning, but I am not that knowledgeable about it all, so I am keen to learn more.

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  5. Good for you! Can't wait to see what you come up with for activities!

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  6. This is so great! I love that you're doing this and I know you'll be a huge hit with the children.

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  7. Good for you for volunteering. I help out at our village primary school three sessions per week, especially with the science classes. This has led to helping start up an after school science club and as a result I'm seriously considering teacher training when my two are a bit older. I LOVE every minute of it, and if I hadn't gone in to volunteer I'd never have known how much I enjoy it and how fulfilling it is. You'll have a wonderful time!

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  8. I grew up spending most of my time outside or around nature in some capacity, it's something that I loved and have wonderful memories of. Now I live in city, and I tell myself when I have kids, I'm going to make sure they get out in nature as much as possible. Your example is inspiring, and I think it's great to help out with the outdoors education. :)

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  9. What serendipity!! Have a wonderful time with it!!

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  10. I run a social enterprise that is all about getting children outside. Often a concern raised by educators is about the reactions of parents. I repeatedly point out that there are many parents who want to see more outdoor play and learning - just as many as those who are worried about their child going out in the rain.

    Never worry about being a "pushy parent" over matters to do with getting children outside. It's really important those who know this is a right and necessity for a child to thrive speak out loud and clear. Everyone needs to help change happen.

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