Safety-obsessed New Zealand may not be ready for rugged no-nonsense “adventure kindergartens” – described in yesterday’s rag as “a radical preschool movement that advocates toughening up the little darlings with a back-to-nature approach, including turfing them outdoors in all but extreme weather.” Story here: A really wild way to grow kids.
But the guy in the story who says New Zealand “may not be ready for it” teaches in Aro Valley, Wellington, so his opinion can be safely discarded. New Zealanders of the old school should embrace this, if they can beat back the bureaucratic bastards who will undoubtedly try to stop it.
There’s nothing “radical” about taking kids out of cotton wool and letting them see the world as it is. About letting them learn about taking risks, and to take responsibility for their own choices. That’s simply how the world, or at least New Zealand, used to be – and should be again.
It’s not all that a good education should be, but it should certainly be part of what a good one looks like.
UPDATE: Sean Fitzpatrick says:
“To me the interesting issue is not the proposal in itself – it is the idea that such a measure is seen as somehow ‘novel’.
“To anyone born before the mid-seventies, a childhood full of falling over on concrete covered school-yards, getting stuck up trees or trying to fetch one’s soccer ball from a gorse bush was all par for the course. It provided us with life experiences, choices to be made and consequences to be handled. It prepared us all for life.”
Dead right. To paraphrase that much quoted line, the end result of banning risk is to fill the world with molly-coddled fools.
UPDATE 2: Opinionated Mummy has further thoughts:
“We are now so used to thinking in terms of preparing for the very worst and the least likely scenarios, that that we do not realise how overbearing and ridiculous our safety measures have become. We are so concerned about safety that we forget what we are giving up for our children: freedom, resourcefulness, learning the value of hindsight and using common sense, or believing that common sense has any value at all.”
Exactly. We substitute the possibility of physical damage with the certainty of mental and spiritual damage – and since children grow up unable to properly assess risk for themselves, the strong possibility of physical damage at some unspecified time in the future. Read Risk paranoia for more.