As you probably already know, at Woodland Outdoor Kindergarten we champion the quality of resilience; but you may not know why. Wouldn’t it be easier to wrap our children in cotton wool in order to ensure their safety and well-being? There have certainly been times during my career where I have felt it would be simpler to just lift a child over a log, rather than encouraging them to climb it! However, there is a large amount of evidence to suggest that resilience is an essential factor in both children’s emotional and social development. By the end of this most recent blog entry, I am to prove the importance of resilience, whilst also demonstrating how children at WOK consistently exhibit this quality.
I’ll start by asking the question; what is resilience? The Encyclopedia of Early Childhood Development defines resilience as “ a healthy development in spite of adversity and the ability to cope with tragedy or trauma.” Whilst I am happy to confirm that children do not tend to experience tragedy or trauma whilst at nursery (!), I have seen multiple examples of children overcoming personal adversities and , with this, accelerating their development.
I once looked after a little boy who , when he began at Woodland Outdoor Kindergarten, loved to watch other children climbing trees. He would laugh at children climbing trees and jumping from logs into muddy puddles. However, If I ever suggested he tried climbing he would refuse and look concerned. One afternoon, when I returned to camp after my break, I noticed the child standing tentatively on a small log. After a few minutes consideration, I watched him take a few steps along the log. After around an hour he had managed to walk along the log and even slide off the end! Today, the child has transformed into a confident and able climber and often suggests climbing games when chatting to his friends. This serves as a perfect example of a child conquering a personal fear and gaining resilience whilst at Woodland Outdoor Kindergarten.
In 2014, award winning author Maureen Healy published an article in Psychology Today entitled “The Resilient Child.” Healy argues: “Resiliency isn’t a biological gift. It is something anyone can learn to grow in themselves or their children.” At Woodland Outdoor Kindergarten we employ a variety of tactics to help foster resilience in the children that we care for . We instruct children to carry their own bags to give them a sense of independence, we encourage children to challenge themselves physically and improve their gross motor skills. And, perhaps most importantly, we frequently praise children in order to develop and sustain their self-confidence.
That’s it for this week! I hope I have communicated to you the power or resilience and how our WOK members have it in abundance! Join me next time when I aim to discuss the benefits of physical activity in early years play.
Links and Further Reading
• Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us
• Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development: http://www.child-encyclopedia.com/
• Book: 365 Perfect Things to Say to Your Child by Maureen Healy (Informative and uplifting!)
• Book: Raising an Emotionally Healthy Child by Maureen Healy (Published this year and very accessible,I’mquite a big fan!)