Where should children play?
If you ask Celia Hogan - it's outside. Anywhere from the forest, up a hill or at the beach. Hogan is the organiser behind the Nature Play Conference in Christchurch next Friday.
She says teachers and early childhood educators need to be braver in letting kids play outside.
“We talk a lot about free play, but there’s a difference between playing inside and outside and the ability to build confidence and engage in social interactions. Children develop a bit of a connection for their local environment.”
They also improve problem-solving skills, she says.
“If they can see something just in front of them and think; ‘how do I do this and how can I climb up this bank?’ They keep trying, there’s something about nature that builds a bit of resilience in children.”
She says it’s almost as if we have forgotten that the benefits of outdoor free play far outweigh this risks. And teachers also are wary of health and safety regulations and a child getting hurt on their watch.
“It’s a part of their development to have a few scratches and bruises because they’re actually learning a lot about themselves and what they’re capable of. I call them learning injuries, scratches bruises, cuts, even the odd broken bone.”
She says serious life-changing injuries are the risks that should be actively managed.
“Scrapes and bruises are a normal part of growing up, it’s a rite of passage.”
And for all those that have asked, click here for the article about potty training children in 3 days.