Goodstart advocates for outdoor learning

by Freya Lucas

November 02

Following the success of yesterday’s outdoor classroom day, Goodstart have spoken about the value of outdoor environments and experiences, saying that they are a vital part of a child’s development.

 

 

Goodstart’s pedagogy and practice general manager Sue Robb discussed the importance of physical experiences in the life of a child, saying that the first five years of development see a child growing and developing at a faster rate than at any other time in their lives.

 

 

“Quite simply, the outdoors offers space – space to climb, balance, jump, hop, ride bikes. All these activities and experiences enable children to master and fine-tune emerging physical skills,” she said.

 

 

Outlining all that can be achieved in the outdoor space, Ms Robb shared three reasons that this space was important to child development;

 

  • To develop and fine tune gross motor skills
  • Foster a love of nature
  • Experiment with risk

 

“By being outdoors and engaging in experiences, we can foster a child’s love of nature – which also helps them learn how things grow and how things work, for example, gardening and composting, which also bring with them sensory experiences.”


Risk was highlighted as an important component of time spent in outdoor play, with Ms Robb affirming that learning how to take risks is an instrumental component of a child’s development and success at school, and in later life.

 


“When we talk about taking risks, we mean taking risks in an environment that is safe to take risks in, and the outdoors really lends itself to this.” Ms Robb said.


“…learning to take risks is really important because you want to instil in them the approach of ‘having a go’. What we see in children who’ve not learnt to take risks early in life, at age eight for example, they are faced with a maths problem and they say ‘I can’t do it.’”



“It’s not that they don’t want to, it’s just that they haven’t been developed in a culture of having a go in their earliest of years, and that’s what being outdoors and engaging in experiences helps children learn to do.”



More information about how Goodstart celebrated outdoor classroom day can be found at https://goodstart.org.au/news-and-advice/November-2018/Celebrate-Outdoor-Classroom-Day

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