Supporting youngsters with unwanted behaviours. Part Two

Having taught for a number of years as a young probationer doing supply work in some of the more challenging schools in Aberdeen City, I was interested to read in the Press and Journal online last week that 50% of children excluded in Aberdeen albeit temporarily, have additional support needs (ASN).

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeen/944273/half-of-children-excluded-from-aberdeen-schools-have-additional-support-needs/

The high number of exclusions of children with ASN issues are occurring, so it is claimed, because the council have reduced the number of support staff in these classrooms and so teachers are left alone with large classes and extremely challenging and unwanted behaviours from the youngsters in their classes. The exclusions occur as teachers, despite their best intentions, are unable to mitigate these unwanted behaviours in youngsters who need a great deal of social, emotional and personal support.  The teachers don’t yet have the tools to cope with large numbers of unwanted behaviours with only one adult present in the room.

This news prompted me to think about my own experiences, both as a probationer with no support (before the time of guaranteed one year graduate teaching placements) and the techniques I have observed colleagues using.  Coupling this with my experiences working with young people outdoors, I have been developing a simple format which can be utilised by teachers. Nothing is ever going to be failsafe.  Techniques which work for one child will not necessarily work for another, but at least as we increase our skill level in these techniques, perhaps these young people can be supported and thereby and reduce the number of overall exclusions.  I should write here as well that I was close to giving up teaching completely until one fantastic depute head teacher took me under her wing and supported me while I regained my shattered confidence!

 

  1. Understand the child and take to heart that behaviours are a direct outward expression of feelings. This isn’t to give the child an excuse for unwanted behaviours, it is to understand why the behaviours have happened.

See Part One of this blog post http://supportstrategies.owls-learn.co.uk/2016/07/04/supporting-youngsters-with-unwanted-behaviours-part-one/

 

  1. Sensory needs…all the usual autistic sensory provision (see the National Autistic Society website for more information) but when doing this ask the child what they think will help. Suggest ideas and let the child choose from them. It may take a little time out of class initially but you should find if you speak to the child, listen to the child, and act on what they say some of the issues will lessen.

Please note: listening and acting on what the child says seems to be the hardest part for most adults as it involves the outward perception that you are relinquishing control!

 

  1. Reduce the pressure. Missing a small part of school education or lowering the standards temporarily will not have an undue effect on the overall educational attainment of the child. It is better to focus on developing positive mental health and wellbeing than to continue battling and causing stress. Children and adults do not learn well under constant extreme stress.  Some pressure can be healthy but only if you have the internal emotional resources to handle the stress.

 

  1. Consider emotional intelligence skills which may be under-developed or missing in their entirety.
  • Extreme anxiety-driven need to be in control
  • Very poor emotional intelligence
  • Misjudge approaches to others – sabotage friendships inadvertently
  • Inability to take responsibility
  • Lack empathy (Children may role play this instead)
  • Socially naïve
  • Will rarely make connections between actions and
  • consequences
  • Very low self-esteem combined with very high anxiety (See part one)

See the images below for the types of skills which can be lacking.

Skill worksheet-page-002 Skill worksheet-page-002 Skill worksheet-page-003

Now the most important thing to remember in all of this information is that you cannot tackle the underlying problems during a ‘meltdown’.  You cannot take a reactive approach.

Imagine you are having a very heated argument with your better half.  Imagine the state you might be in.  Do you want a small crowd watching you? Do you want someone to start shouting at you?  Do you want someone telling you to calm down in the middle of you shouting at your partner?  Do you want someone grappling you and holding you down because they are frightened you may be violent while you are shouting?

Or would you rather have someone very calm saying quietly that they are here for you when you are ready?  That they will not judge you and hold you to account.  That they will not hold a grudge against you.  That they will be there to listen when you are ready to talk.

I know which I would prefer and which worked for me when I had sudden meltdowns as a teenager which exploded into abrupt and unexpected verbal violence towards teachers.   So although I was given the peace and the calm to recover from the meltdown (I was always exhausted and embarrassed afterwards) the teachers never followed up with a proactive approach to solving the underlying problems.  An approach that takes into account the ideas mentioned in points 1-4 of this blog.

So quite simply, as I have challenged myself this week to verbalise what I do, perhaps you can challenge yourself to listen and act on what highly stressed children really need in school.

 

Supporting youngsters with unwanted behaviours. Part One

PART ONE

My challenge to myself this week is to clarify in my mind the way to verbalise how I work with youngsters who are struggling within our school system and displaying unwanted behaviours due to extreme levels of stress.  I want to be able to be more succinct in explaining to other adults how we can support these young people, many of whom are only 7 or 8 when I am first contacted to work with them.

So, the steps to reducing unwanted behaviours caused by anxiety? First and foremost put yourself in their shoes. It can be tricky to think like an Autistic/ADHD/neurodiverse person, but what you need to remember is that all exterior behaviours are a result of feelings, and feelings when in school for many people on the autistic spectrum, with ADHD or who are neurally diverse are stress based and they are unable to verbalise them.

While reading this short story, imagine you have no other options! So to put yourself in the shoes of a highly anxious and stressed person I want you to imagine you are going on a last minute budget holiday.

You have bought your ticket, packed your bag and are waiting on a taxi to take you to the airport.  The time comes for your taxi to arrive but it isn’t there.  Five minutes pass, ten minutes, you begin to worry as although you have allowed extra time to reach the airport you know the late taxi is eating into this time.  You phone the taxi company, no answer. You would phone your friend to see if they can take you but you know they away so you are on your own.  20 minutes after the expected time the taxi arrives.  The taxi driver is grumpy, he couldn’t find your house.  He says he will charge you for the extra time he has spent trying to find your home.  You start to argue with him but you know it is futile.  He has got you in a corner as you need to get this flight even though you think it is unfair. You agree to pay the extra but by the time you get to the airport, having also got stuck in the increasingly bad traffic, you tell him what you think of him and he is rude back.

Next you move into the overcrowded airport hall, noise, people, lights.  You search for your check in and baggage handling point and join the long queue.  Fifteen minutes later as you get to the front, an airport assistant asks if you have already checked in.  You reply you haven’t and are told to move to the back of a different queue as this is for bag drop off only.  You mutter under your breath and are loudly told by the airport staff that this is a zero tolerance zone for language and behaviour. You feel your cheeks burn with embarrassment.

Finally having checked in you traverse security but instead of having time for a relaxing drink in a small café and a browse in the airport shops, you realise your name is being called on the intercom system as your flight has already boarded. You rush up to the flickering lights board and scan it to locate the gate for your budget flight.  You start to run to make your boarding gate in time and accidently knock into an old person.  You run to the gate where you see the door and the back of the airport boarding staff.  You call out, ‘Excuse me!’ but they are already going through the sound-proofed door.

Now think about the stress you might feel at each stage of the journey to the airport. How do you react?  How do you imagine your stress levels rise?  Now imagine feeling that level of stress every time you went to school?  Imagine that level of stress every time you were asked to sit in a busy and noisy classroom, to participate in a group task, tackle some maths you are frightened of failing or to navigate the playground.  As you read on to part two of this article, remember when we are talking about these children and young people, we are talking about people who have extremely high levels of stress all the time they are not at home.  It is exhausting for them and not surprisingly they hit out and shout and scream.  Remember the levels of stress they experience and read onto Part Two.

 

 

 

Moving from reliance to resilience

Here is a copy of the article I wrote which was published in the March 2016 edition of Dyslexia Voice, the magazine of Dyslexia Scotland.

Moving from reliance to resilience. 

During my 22 years as a teacher, outdoor instructor, and educational consultant, I have often seen Autism, PDA, Dyslexia and ADHD co-occurring in the children with whom I work. I am also a parent of three wonderful children, one of whom is dyslexic-autistic, and one who is dyslexic-ADHD.  Diagnosing one aspect of neuro-diversity often appears to lead to another condition being flagged up and thereby doubling the enormous stresses that both the parent and the child face in learning to read, in their writing and organisation, and in the sheer fact that they think, and therefore act differently, to the majority of the population.

The challenges that occur as a result of multiple diagnoses are numerous and often seemingly insurmountable when you start out in supporting your young and impressionable child.  With co-occurring diagnoses, the child is given a doubly difficult time trying to conform to the rigors of our traditionally Victorian education system which inevitably knocks their self-esteem.  Perhaps the most important challenge to achieve is that of enabling our children to develop lifelong positive self-esteem and resilience.

We all know Maslow showed in his triangle of needs that positive self-esteem was required in order for individuals to achieve their true potential. I am going to suggest that true self-esteem doesn’t come from receiving stickers, rewards and a smile from the adult in charge.  True self-esteem, which can lead to lifelong self-actualisation, needs to develop intrinsically and it is essential that we support our neuro-diverse youngsters, (as well as our neuro-typical youngsters) in achieving this goal.

As a parent, I have encouraged my children to look at the positive aspects of neuro-diversity. Their amazing, unusual and creative problem solving skills, their motor-skill abilities, their spatial awareness including both their ability to map-read accurately as well as follow complex pictorial instructions. I have talked to them about their advantages in thinking dyslexically and autistically.  They have positive self-esteem and when they take knock to their confidence, it doesn’t take long for their developing resilience to bring them back to reality, for their confidence to reassert itself and for them to try again.

As a teacher, I believe it is essential that we also enable the youngsters with whom we work to also achieve this lifelong treasure of resilience and positive self-esteem.  All too often I have seen neuro-diverse children struggle with our traditional education system which wrongly develops the reliance on ticks, stickers, praise from the teacher and the requirement to get it right.

In this ‘right or wrong’ educational culture, the neuro-diverse children are unfairly discriminated against due to the way their brains are wired and therefore the way they think.  With the creative and diverse opportunities that are presented within the Curriculum for Excellence, we as teachers can finally start to support the neuro-diverse children in experiencing positive self-esteem and in developing the innate treasure of internal resilience.

So how do we achieve this goal?  How can we actually teach in a way that develops lifelong resilience?  How can we support neuro-diverse children in their everyday learning? One of the children in my class in which I had just started to teach one day a week, was facing some low level taunting from other children about her dyslexia.   Her self-esteem was suffering and she was beginning to feel she wasn’t any good at anything.

In class, I took this opportunity to start a dyslexia discussion, which included talking about the usual famous people with dyslexia and the advantages that dyslexic thinkers have over neuro-typical thinkers.  We also discussed the fantastic diversity of thinking presented by ADHD and Autistic children.

The children began to ‘research’ the topic and then inspired by others in the class who had dyslexic family members, they chose to produce an informative assembly for the rest of the school.  The biggest point being that the children had autonomy over this project and due to their autonomy they were inspired and so the project was a success.  In reviewing the successes and failures of the project, the children came to understand that mistakes can be made and when we learn from these we grow and develop our skills.

With their self-esteem boosted by their initial success, they quickly jumped into another project in the form of fund-raising for Water Aid.   A wide variety of experiences from coffee morning to comedy show in which each individual child was able to follow their own interests. This resulted in success which in turn led again to increased self-esteem.  The outcome wasn’t polished, there were mistakes, the coffee tasted pretty bad by all accounts but I had stood back and the children loved it and had complete autonomy over the event.  Every single child was motivated and not one child was left without a smile at the end of the morning (although that could have been the effects of eating left over cake!)  Their choices, their work, their success, their own increased self-esteem.

Combining this child-led, collaborative-community approach to learning has enabled their mathematical thinking skills to improve as well.  The link may at first appear tenuous. How can maths skills improve because the children have taken part in a couple of collaborative projects which have nothing to do with mathematical thinking?

As you begin to consider the true collaborative-community approach you begin to see the connections in increasing self-esteem and the ability to take part in challenging projects where success is not measured by ticks and crosses, but by the thinking that has gone on behind the apparent result.  This applies to both the dyslexia project and the water aid project in which the children took part, as well as their mathematical problem solving projects.

The latest problem solving project within their maths (and it ties win with H&W very nicely) has been the simple question, “Is it possible to achieve 10,000 steps a day?” From Thinking Through Mathematics, Book 2. Allmond, Wells and Makar 2010.     If I had posed this question to the children three months ago, I would have been met with tears, confusion, and the question of what do you mean?  Indeed, when we first started this type of maths thinking which didn’t result in a page of ticks and a smiley sticker, I was met with tears because their self-esteem relied on getting it right and receiving ticks, stickers and praise from the teacher…not a reliable or healthy long term way to retain positive self-esteem.

Now I am met with questions flying around the class such as “How long does it talk to walk 10,000 steps? How do we measure it? How far is it?  What about old people? Can old people sit down and ‘walk’ by lifting their legs to get fit? Do the P1’s walk as fast as the P7’s? How many times around the playground is it?” and more!

The advantage of this child-led, collaborative-community learning is that all children within the neuro-diverse spectrum can be successful because they are being allowed to work the way their brains are wired.  The success and resultant enjoyment motivates all children far more than stickers and praise ever can.  As teachers and facilitators, we should not keep this type of learning for a one off special enterprise project or a particular assembly that happens once a year.  We should be embedding this type of teaching and learning into our everyday work with the children so we can get it right, every time, for every child.

This style of teaching is initially scary as we release the Victorian control that has always kept us safe and secure, but enabling the youngsters to take charge and pose their own questions and challenges bring immense rewards.  So take a deep breath, discuss opportunities for child-led, collaborative-community learning with your class, give them autonomy and let them learn…the way their minds want to learn.

 

The Positivity Advantage

I find it quite ironic that I had just finished reading ‘The Happiness Advantage’ by Shawn Achor when I end up having another mental health crash myself.  Resilience isn’t my strongest point but I have been learning for the past 25 years, (along with medication input) to manage failure, to not take failure personally, to learn and to make it a positive experience rather than all-encompassing negativity.  So here I am writing my next blog about the power of positivity when all I really want to do is hide for a while and make it all go away!  Perhaps you can also see the irony…?

Our interactions with people are affected not only by our own emotions be they positive, negative or non-descript, but by the emotions of others. We pick up on the feelings of others and respond subconsciously to them.  How many of you have come into a room full of miserable people and ended up going out deflated and miserable yourself?  This ‘affect’ can also work in a positive way.  If we say ‘thank you’ and express our gratitude to someone, this positive affect is passed on not only to that person whom we have thanked, but to the next people that they meet.  The positivity moves on three levels.  In our world of interconnectedness, if we paste one humourous or thankful post on Facebook, this positive affect touches not just the lives of our Facebook friends, but of their friends on Facebook as this ‘affect’ travels.

The same goes for our own children and the children we teach. Children and young people respond to positivity, trust and respect.  As Achor says,

“Cultivating positive brains makes us more motivated, efficient, creative and productive.”

So if we want the children in our class to be more creative, motivated and productive and consequently achieve higher standards, we should understand that “positive brains have a biological advantage over brains that are neutral or negative.”

We need to adjust our mind-set to one of positivity so we can achieve more and we can do this by retraining our brains to think positively and look for the positive aspects of children’s learning rather than focusing on the mistakes.

This takes time and practise but understanding that we can rewire out brains is essential.  If we surround ourselves with the negative aspects of teaching, the stress, the workload, the unwanted behaviours, then we will feed our brain negativity.  If we remain aware of these issues, but consciously focus on small moments of positive input, such as a smile, a child saying good morning, a focused child in our class, then we can retrain our brains, step by step, to be positive brains.

Looking at learning we can use the moments of apparent failure to develop our skills, and the skills of the children we teach.  We can regain control of our own positivity by focusing on small manageable goals.  You would not expect a child to achieve a complex task without breaking it down and the same goes for us when developing our own teaching strategies.   Finally, remember our social support network is of prime importance in supporting us to make these small manageable changes in our lives.

So here is a challenge to try: End each lesson and each day with 3 things you want to say thank you for, or maybe think of a child to whom you want to say thank you and why.   Look for the small, positive aspects of your day and acknowledge them out loud gratefully, someone making you a cup of tea, a child smiling as they finally understand what you are teaching, someone holding the door for you.  Little by little, you will notice a positive change both in yourself and in those around you.

 

References:

The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, Virgin Books, New York, 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Positive Behaviour Strategies – Exercise for kids with ADHD.

My middle child has always been ridiculously active..even before he was born! Nothing has changed in the eleven years he has been running around, fighting with sticks (or logs!) in the woods, climbing trees, climbing walls, climbing rocks..in fact, anything he can get a purchase on! (He is the one hanging upside down on the Outdoor Woodland Learning School facebook banner photo!)
 
I was once told by a teacher that the then DHT in his primary school had found Middle Child at the top of a tree…15m high.
 
My husband took our three children shopping while on a long weekend from school. For one reason or another Middle Child hadn’t done any exercise for two days. Husband came back saying he would never do this again…Middle Child had been climbing the walls…literally…both inside the shops and outside the shops. He had been climbing on lamp posts, he had climbed over our van and back in through the windows, he had even tried climbing up his Dad!
 
When he went for his dyslexia assessment, and yes, he is dyslexic as well, the first thing the internationally renowned educational psychologist said was that he was showing definite signs of ADHD…but Middle Child is reasonably successful in school.  His teachers have no issues with his concentration. When he does lose his focus, he can refocus himself.  He isn’t disruptive, he is quiet and polite….and I am very lucky to have such a great child.  
But I don’t believe it is purely luck.  We are an active family.  We run, we hike, we orienteer, we climb, in fact we spend a lot of time outside doing physical activities.  I have realised more and more that we are helping Middle Child to regulate his own ADHD symptoms by exercising him in the way you need to exercise a spaniel puppy!  Everyday we ensure he does something.  Recently he took up Sooyang Do a martial art.  He loves it.  The focus has been incredibly good for him and the exercise is fantastic.
The scientific evidence is now showing that exercise affects areas of the brain needed for self regulation.   Exercise can, in the case of ADHD and depression, compliment medication or even remove the need for it entirely as in the case of Middle Child.  John Ratey, American psychiatrist has written a book called ‘Spark’ showing the benefits and links of exercise and brain function, more specifically, ADHD.
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/3142.html
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/3280-2.html
The American journal ‘Paediatrics’ published a scientific report by Hillman et all on the effects of exercise and brain function.
 
Electrophysiological plots representing brain processing
capacity and mental workload (P3 amplitude) during
cognitive tasks that require executive control in children
in the experiment and control groups. Red represents
the greatest amplitude, and blue the lowest.
(Hillman et al, Pediatrics/The Atlantic)
 http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/09/exercise-seems-to-be-beneficial-to-children/380844/

I wonder if we allowed and encouraged kids to exercise more, if some of the discipline and concentration issues we face in schools would diminish? It doesn’t need to be huge amounts of time, just a few minutes when you see a child losing concentration, some star-jumps, a run twice round the playground as fast as you can, a bit of jogging on the spot in the classroom, a bit of brain gym at the beginning of the day…

We can all fit in a few minutes and if it benefits the children’s health and wellbeing, reduces class disruption and enables greater concentration, to not include it would be tantamount to rejecting the requirement to improve learning and teaching and thereby raise attainment.

People who can behave, will.

In continuing this series on positive behaviour strategies for schools and other social situations, I will start with the issues often faced by children with additional support needs.  I have written a few ideas which can give a starting point for development of that skill.

It is important to remember that children start displaying unwanted behaviours because they are struggling to comprehend the situation they are experiencing.  This is particularly true of children who have additional support for learning requirements.  Their behaviour can be a display of frustration, or anger, or confusion and because they do not have the verbal skills to communicate their needs to us in a more effective way they resort to unwanted behaviours.

This mind map is about developing ideas to support the development of specific skills which the child may be lacking in their interactions and understanding of social situations.  It is important to remember that understanding children’s behaviour is not an excuse to allow that behaviour to repeatedly occur…remember we strive to encourage positive behaviours!

The original eight facets of demands which can be compromised are from the book ‘No fighting , no biting , no screaming’ by Bo Hejlskov Elven.  The suggestions are ones I have come across during my experiences and work.  Remember, positive and constructive feedback is always welcome.  We are here to share what we know and have used successfully so that others can benefit from our knowledge.

People who can behave, will

Changing behaviour for the better in schools.

I know of many schools that have problems with individual children whose behaviour does not meet the expected standard of the school.  Having spent a lot of time thinking, reading and researching about this subject, and implementing strategies myself, I am feeling a little braver at sharing some suggestions in how to manage ‘unwanted’ behaviours and turn it into positive behaviour.  What I will say as you embark on this journey of change, is that we do not always get it right.  We do not succeed in everything every day, but if we do strive to change for the better, then change will happen!

Now this does take time, you are not going to get a quick fix and it has to be tackled at three levels.  It involves commitment and determination from teachers and other school staff, the senior management team and from parents.  Note, the children are not involved in this process! It uses strategies that arise from thinking ‘out of the box’ so to speak and not the traditional behaviour management of using positive rewards and negative sanctions which require children to consciously change their behaviour.

So how do we achieve the elixir of great behaviour in schools?

Firstly, I would like you to think metaphorically and picture your favourite flower.

Now think about why such a beautiful and perfect flower might fail to thrive and die?  Did it have enough water? Was it over-watered?  Was it planted in the correct type of soil?  Did it get enough sunshine?  Was it attacked by garden pests?  Did it get a fungus or a virus?  When a favourite flower fails to thrive as it should, we change the environment around the flower so it blooms.

The same can be said for children in schools.  We should look at changing the environment and not the child.  Now many schools are involved in creating better environments surrounding children, and this is especially pertinent to children with autism and other additional support for learning requirements.  But once we have changed the physicalities, we often find that children still struggle. They still fail to thrive…so what can we do?

The answer is that we must remember, ‘people who can behave, will…The key word is can. It is about ability, not free will…This way of thinking means that if someone has challenging behaviour, the demands are probably set too high.  The person doesn’t have the prerequisites to live up to the demands.’

Bo Hejlskov Elven, No Fighting, No Biting No Screaming. JKP, London 2010.

In order for there to be a change in these negative behaviours, we must take responsibility to change the environment surrounding the child, including our own behaviours and ‘scripts’.  As these positive changes occur, we will find those around us change for the better.

And how to make this sustainable change?  I have created a workshop on this topic and I will share some of the strategies I have learned over the next few posts.

 

Anger management

A lot of children I work with and support express their frustration in ways that are violent and dangerous to themselves, others and our environment. For example in punching or hitting others, or in swearing , or in throwing things…often through windows. When these occasions occur, it leaves the recipients, both adults and children scared and emotionally drained. Their security has gone. Very often the child perpetrating the violence is also left drained and usually full of remorse. They don’t always have the words to express their feelings and they certainly don’t always recognise that their stress levels are increasing to such an extent that they explode like a volcano.

I was discussing anger management support strategies with an SFL teacher today and asked if they had a copy of ‘A Volcano In My Tummy’ by Whitehouse and Pudney. This is a classic book enabling teachers to support children in addressing their anger management issues. The problem is that the children who need this type of support usually run a mile from a worksheet, and although the book is full of great discussion ideas, everything is presented as a worksheet to complete.

The whole volcano idea is excellent and I really believe it is a great metaphor that parallels the experiences of sudden disintegration of personal control and the consequent explosive power as shown in an eruption of anger. But how to make this metaphor more accessible to children?

Create a model of a volcano using papier-mache. In the middle of the volcano plant a plastic tube, (like the ones that contain sterilisers for false teeth or even a baking powder pot.) Build the papier-mache around this and allow it dry. You can get really quite creative with this with the child. Take as long as you need and even build up a village around the base of the volcano perhaps even with a river or stream! This activity also throws up some wonderful sensory experiences when mixing the watery glue or wall paper paste with the paper and gently plastering the paper up. Finally paint the model, make some mini people and you have a lovely scene in which to play and act out role play.
But back to how this can help us with anger management. Once the model is complete, you could introduce the child to a little experiment and discuss that we are a bit like volcanoes. When the pressure builds up we explode. Using vinegar and baking powder you can demonstrate the volcano (us…or more to the point the child!) in action. (You might like to cover the model in clingfilm first to avoid any upset over the model getting damaged.) You can talk about the ‘explosion’ and how it affects the people around us…maybe people in the village run away/get hurt by the lava/have their homes destroyed. This is all in metaphorical language and with support, the child will come to understand the consequences of their actions affecting everyone around them.

Over time you can encourage the child to ‘play’ with the volcano and you can encourage the child to start using the volcano to ‘express’ their own anger or frustration as it is developing. By leaving some powder and vinegar around, they can add as much as they think they need for the explosion that is literally building inside them. They can learn to use the model volcano to explode their feelings before the reality of violent anger occurs.

 

Risk

Understanding risk and when to take risks is an important skill that all children need to learn. It stands them in good stead for adulthood where we make constant judgements and assessments regarding the safety of an activity. This judgement can be to linked to physical, emotional, personal or even monetary activities. These risks may be as simple as crossing the road or as complex as deciding to marry someone or invest heavily in a new business. Playing during childhood is a constant rehearsal for adulthood and during play we see the adaptation of strategies in order for children to succeed as adults.If we prevent children from taking these risks, we are not allowing them to fully develop their skills before adulthood.
The children need opportunities such as in this video of tonight’s excitement at Night OWLS! They need to jump off walls, to make sure they jump far enough away from the stone so as not to hit their heads. To make sure there are no other children jumping at the same time. To check the landing zone is relatively free of hazards and to ensure no other people are within flip zone of this wonderfully generous and bendy tree. Were the children were enjoying themselves and playing in their instinctively natural and spontaneous way? The children’s expressions and comments say it all. Check out the video on our facebook page, Outdoor Woodland Learning School.