Sunday, 30 October 2011

Who knew - I'm polar bear educator

I found some brilliant blogs this year & made some new friends along the way. There is no doubt that my teaching has been refreshed through the 'blogosphere'. It is always incredible to make instant connections with others around the world. I have even now gained a new term for my teaching approach - I'm a Polar bear educator. Read the fabulous post here from Russell where I first saw the term used.
It takes practice to be able to climb up & down again.
I also loved this post on risky play, from Aunt Annie's Childcare it really reminded me of my class during outdoor play. I attended a conference a few years ago on developing your outdoor area & the speaker said "Unless you can think of 3 good reasons (apart from safety) why a child shouldn't do something, don't stop them" and she stressed that "It'll take me ages to clean that up, it'll be too messy, it looks like it might be risky" were not good enough reasons. I have adopted this in my teaching and luckily all my staff are in agreement with this too. I have also added "If they can get up, they can get down" to a rule on climbing things, and my favourite "it's easier to ask for forgiveness than seek permission" - this last one comes in when we paint the walls/fence outside etc. I am so fortunate to have always had principals who trusted me in this approach - they know that I am not putting children in danger I am challenging them and they are not too precious about the appearance of the place.

I was stunned when a photo of a child standing on 3 milk crates pouring water down a gutter pipe received a collective gasp of astonishment & horror at a recent course of nursery educators. To me it could have been any day in my playground and it also made me realise that not all children are getting the same opportunities as the children in my class are.
We play with sticks, we dig with metal shovels, we climb UP slides and if we didn't we would missed out on all these learning opportunities.

So I will continue to allow children to push the bounderies & challenge themselves in the safe, secure space of the playground or our local woodland classroom or the wonderful sensory garden at a neighbouring school. I hope I am creating fantastic memories for these children of a time when they felt empowered to try new things that made them feel like they had conquered Mount Everest!

Linked to: Kreative Resources


  1. :) I use to joke that my class's theme song was "Welcome to the Jungle. We've got fun and games!" (Guns and Roses) Some days it just felt that way!!!

  2. I bet those the were the best days too! thanks for dropping by

  3. Kierna,
    I really enjoyed the link to the article on ploar bear moms.
    I think I was blessed with a polar bear mom growing up - we got dressed warmly every day in the winter and were expected to go out and find our own fun, and stay out. And we did just that, spending hours finding ways to have fun - sometimes even just sitting against a snowbank and daydreaming.

    I'm so glad we're understanding again the need for children to play outdoors no matter the weather.

    Excellent post!!

  4. it's a great site, Brenda. I am heartened that are more polar bears out there than I had thought!

  5. This is such a fantastic post. I love your mottos and need to remember them. I also try to remember something along those lines when we are out and about and my son wants to jump the cracks in the sidewalk or explore something. I try to make sure we have time for him to be a kid so that we can explore and enjoy the process of getting from point a to point b instead of just hurriedly making it to where we are going. Which is sometimes more difficult than you might think. I love attempting to look at the world through his eyes. Thank you for sharing and reminding me to make these things a priority!

  6. Wonderful post. I would like to say I am a polar bear mom, but it's the opposite end of the spectrum here in TX with severely hot weather. We still got outside every day this past summer. We either played in the water and made sure to play early in the morning or later in the evening.

    Your preschool class looks amazing. The children are so lucky to have a teacher and program who appreciates the benefits of playing outdoors.

  7. Hi Joyce & Rebekah - thanks for dropping by. Funny enough in school today we were just talking about how lucky we are not to have extreme heat either. I am so happy to hear of moms who are enjoying their little people for who they are. Have fun! Kierna

  8. You are so lucky that your Principals allow the children to be create and explore. I lead a childminding group in a Surestart Children's Centre and I find it really disappointing that in a centre specifically designed to improve outcomes for children, we are expected to keep it looking like a show centre.

  9. Hey Cathy, I know I am lucky, I think the fact that we are not part of the main school helps - they never actually have to look at my playground unless they choose to visit, whereas they have passed comment on chalking etc. in the bigger playground. I have visited some centres where I wonder where the children actually play, because it's so pristine.

  10. Oh wow, I just love this post! Thank you for sharing!

  11. Thanks Sheryl - it's my favourite too!


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