Children seem to have fewer and fewer opportunities to get outdoors and interact with nature. I have been involved with Duke of Edinburgh International Award in several schools and have initiated and run Elementary School Camping Clubs at three schools in an effort to give children opportunities to experience the wonder of living in nature. Through camping expeditions, children have the opportunity to push themselves out of their comfort zone. They work collaboratively to problem solve and overcome challenges, and to discover that they are more resilient, more creative and more independent than they ever imagined! We stop here and there on the way, as nature calls to us; an inviting rock to sit on, or secret spaces under the branches of a tree that demand to be explored.
Click here for a link to the Elementary School Camping Club blog.
In accordance with Murphy’s law (as we say in Ireland!) the weather forecast for each trip, irrespective of the time of year, seems to be rain, rain and more rain. We explain to the children (and their parents!) that short of a direct hit by typhoon, the expeditions will go ahead and campers should come suitably prepared. Whatever the weather, I find time and time again that the children have a skip in their step and there is a sense of anticipation in the air. There is nothing quite like a good, hard hike, stopping on the way to climb a particularly inviting tree and crawl through some undergrowth before pitching camp, cooking your own supper and sitting around a bonfire in the dark, singing campfire songs, telling ghost stories and toasting marshmallows.
Click here for an article on why our children need to get outside and engage with nature.