We know that many teachers and practitioners are worried about taking children outside the classroom. They worry about what might happen, and about being blamed if things go wrong.
Yet we also know that children benefit hugely from spending time out of doors. Learning and playing outside can be especially powerful for children who struggle in the more structured environment of the classroom.
The truth is that much of children’s learning and growth involves a degree of risk. This is because learning means going from what is routine and familiar to what is less certain, more challenging and hopefully more engaging. As children spend more and more time indoors in the rest of their lives, the case for outdoor learning and play becomes ever stronger.
What is needed is a balanced approach. And this is precisely what my e-book on risk benefit assessment (RBA) aims to promote. RBA is a straightforward risk management tool that involves bringing together thinking about both risks and benefits in a single judgement.
RBA has not yet reached all schools. But it is spreading fast. It started in playground safety, and has been taken up with enthusiasm by many outdoor educators. It is supported by the UK Government and the Health and Safety Executive.
We all have a role in ensuring that children have the chance to explore, try out new challenges and learn from their own efforts and mistakes. What RBA does is to support this in a balanced, thoughtful way, while giving teachers and schools the tools to show that they have taken all reasonable steps. I invite everyone taking part in Empty Classroom Day to try RBA for themselves and see the difference it can make.
Tim Gill, one of the UK’s leading thinker on childhood.
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Thanks for joining the movement, we can’t wait to see what you get up to on the day! Please share this with your colleagues and friends to help us make it possible for every child to get outdoors to learn and play every day 🙂
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