Physical activity vital for development
Outdoor environments and experiences are a vital part of a child’s development, according to Goodstart’s pedagogy and practice general manager Sue Robb.
“In a child's first five years their physical body is developing faster than any other time in their lives,” Ms Robb said.
“And it’s vital that children have the physical experiences that will support their development.”
Ms Robb said there were three reasons why being in the outdoors was important to a child’s development – to develop and fine-tune gross motor skills; foster a love of nature; and help them learn to take risks – vital for school and life.
“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.
“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.”
And finally, the outdoors helps children learn to take risks.
“Every child learning how to take risks is instrumental to their development and success at school and later life,”
“When we talk about talking risks, we mean taking risks in an environment that is safe to take risks in, and the outdoors really lends itself to this.
“A child 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 take risks offers children."
Read more about Outdoor Classroom Day here