We spent a day immersed in the outdoors. The children climbed concrete embankments and trees. They engaged in observations of worms. They ran and ran, waved sticks and defined their own social relationships.
The Tamagawa river excursion gave us a day to observe the children in a different learning environment. Our sincerest thanks go to our parent volunteers who respected the children’s ability to learn as we watched them climb and explore.
Observations on learning. The natural and man-made environment as a provocateur of thinking and learning.
Children will always find a way to learn through play. Even sitting on a train to the river the children were swinging their legs as they explored motion. They played their own version of Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Children are keen observers and quickly act upon their observations, using their own value system. The children wondered about the homeless peoples houses. the children asked whether they could go to the Chiku Centre.
Children work within their boundaries of comfort and risk. Every space provides an opportunity to play and learn. The children walked past a concrete embankment and spent twenty minutes climbing the structure. Someone noted this was, “scary, but fun!”. We made careful observations of the children. We noted that children climbed as high as they were comfortable and only then carefully pushed their boundaries. This is the embodiment of education in an atmosphere of wise freedom.
Children can concentrate for extended periods of time. The children decided to make a tree house, they applied all their collective skills to the task. Other groups made shops and birds nests.
All this occurred before 12.00, the learning went on and on.
Reflections from the adults
Parents: The children can do so much.
Teachers: Children should not have their time over-planned, they are capable of self-directed learning. Children are able to sustain peaceful play for hours in a natural environment. They can concentrate and focus for extended periods of time.
Article Children focused through free play
Photographs by Ms Connie