Although the majority of the new generation of British children play outside less than once a week and the distance they stray from homes on their own has shrunk by 90%, there exists an ever-increasing demand for outdoor and activity learning.
43% of adults think a child shouldn’t play outdoors unsupervised until the age at 14, but these are the same adults who have only positive memories of outdoorsy school days; field trips, residential adventure trips and afternoons spent roaming around in woods and fields. So what does this mean for education? It seems that our children now lead sheltered lives in an age of Sky TV, Xbox and over-anxious diagnoses for grazed knees and bruises.
Yet, at the same time, there is a focus in education to create more robust and invigorating programmes which promote aspects of learning that will equip children beyond the classroom life of compulsory education. We want our kids to be confident, fulfilled and active, and above all be able to benefit from the invaluable lessons that collaborative activity, team sport and extracurricular challenges can offer.
It is from such opportunities, outside of the clinical environment of the classroom, that a child can acquire life skills and flourish into a rounded individual. Our focus is to encourage the ‘active generation’, the same generation inspired from the spectacular moments of the London 2012 Games. Below are a couple of ideas about how, within your school, you can promote this generation to ensure that kids keep gaining exposure to an active and outdoor life.
1. Switch chess club for climbing club
The more traditional school clubs have occupied children for years but given the chance, we’re certain that a more ‘unexpected’ hobby would prove far more popular. Some schools with excellent facilities already have climbing clubs and they are very successful as children gain confidence and independence. A climbing club doesn’t necessarily mean that a school must have its own practice wall; all it takes is a willing and enthusiastic group to organise regular trips to your local climbing centre!
2. Residential Trips
It seems that the common case of the overprotective parent is somewhat responsible for impacting a child’s development, as they become susceptible to shyness and a preference for indoor comfort. We think that residential trips offer fantastic opportunities to give kids a taste of life outside the classroom. Activity centres all over the country offer planned programmes which involve everything from archery to abseiling, canoeing to caving, and orienteering to outdoor laser!
Exposing kids to such a diverse range of activities early on gives them a chance to develop an interest in one or more, and they may even discover a hidden talent.
Click here to find out more. However, we warn you…they may not want to return home!
3. Positive Competition
Yes, in all youth sports we’ll undoubtedly see some grazed elbows and minor upsets.But the set of values that can be learned through competition are, indeed, invaluable. Encouraging kids to always try their hardest to outperform the opponent is a mindset that will cross over to the classroom, creating a drive to succeed that will lead to academic success. Other benefits include long lasting friendships through the engaging social atmosphere and – of course – fitness! In a worrying age of childhood obesity, the importance of an active lifestyle has never been more poignant.
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