Outdoor Life Skills
Outdoor life skills learning activities are an essential part of healthy child development because they provide the greatest lessons of risk and challenge which serve to expand the student’s understanding of themselves and others. Minor outdoor occurrences such as scratches, insect bites, or getting rained on are all part of growing up and developing resilience. Doctors are now warning that our children may not outlive their parents due to weight-related health issues (Council of Outdoor Educators, 2007). The Quebec Ministry of Education, Loisir et Sport has taken positive steps to revitalize students by adding 20 minutes of health and fitness education to the elementary public school curriculum.
However, in many cases this extra time allocation is not being used effectively because of time-tabling issues, and/or teachers who lack formal training, and in some cases gymnasiums. A key component to this outdoor life skills program physical activity can be implemented directly in schoolyards and local green spaces while integrating engaging, age appropriate learning activities with cross curriculum-links.
Outdoor life skills learning activities can be described as those which:
- promote physical health and the well-being of the students’;
- build life skills through ‘experiential’ learning opportunities;
- incorporate simulation games that teach environmental concepts;
- promote adventure some activities that build student’s confidence and character;
- encourage life-long skill development;
- can include a wide variety of team-building exercises;
- promote student independence as well as personal and interpersonal growth;
- allow for the growth and development of physical education skills of individuals’ at their level;
- help students’ to reach their potential at their pace; and
- develop problem-solving skills, communication, peer respect, cooperation and teamwork.