Playing in the snow and Managing Risk.
I have been reading a few articles about managing risk with children and outdoor learning. I am lucky in the sense that we don't have to fill out any forms or do a Risk Assessment before we set out on our adventures in the woods. We don't even know where we are going most of the time. That decision is made by the children when we come to the cross roads as we call it and vote whether we go to the Wolf forest, container forest, stone bridge, big stone or the kids-grove. The children have come up with all these names over time on our travels through the areas we use. There was a lot of snow outside today, we normally go with a big trolly with a lot of different stuff in it but this day there was nothing brought with us so we needed to play with the snow and what we found in the woods. This was a day that I as a teacher had to close my mouth and let the children experience and manage the risk on our trip. It was a group of 27 children but this time the group decided to go to two different places and I had the privilege to be with a small group in container forest which is also very close to the stone bridge and a little stream that is always popular.
Instead of saying 'no we can't go to the stream' I decided to let the children decide for themselves if, what or how we could play there. They were quick to find out that they didn't want to fall in and get wet because it was cold. When we got to the stream they started off throwing some snow in to the stream to watch it melt . Then there was a bit of a competition who could get the biggest ice brick to throw in, I asked them if we could all get a ice brick and see what would happen and someone said that we had made a little glacier. We found some sticks and started to poke them into the snow and ice around the stream, it was very tempting to warn them to be careful but I decided that it was for them to manage the risk there, what was the worst that could happen? Someone would get wet and as I am a teacher prepared for everything I have a full set of dry clothes in my bag so I said nothing.
There is a bigger pond not too far away and the children asked if we could go there when there was enough ice on it to skate so I asked how do we know if it is safe? And they were quick to answer; first we find a big stone and throw on the ice then you (me the teacher) test the ice so we don't fall into the water. I promised to let them know when I thought it would be a good idea to go and check the pond, they certainly hadn't forgotten about the fun we had last winter on the ice (see my blog post about this from last winter)http://nosuchthingasbadweather.blogspot.com/2014/01/guest-post-playiceland-on-ice.html
My favourite post from the link up last time was from The Way he Plays all about celebrating a first birthday party in the lovely sunshine and given that it has been so cold here, I loved looking at the beautiful blue skies in this post.
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