The outdoor environment is a great place for children to challenge themselves and learn to take responsible risks. The teaching team recognised the benefits of having longer parallel bars and commissioned a local engineering shop to manufacture these. When the longer parallel bars arrived at kindergarten and were introduced to the children they appeared keen to have a turn to show what they can do or challenge themselves to try something new.
“Movement is at the very core of how children develop intellectually, emotionally, socially, and of course, physically. A moving child is a learning child”. (Gill Connell, Moving Smart, 2011).
The addition of longer parallel bars has created plenty of opportunities for our tamariki to physically and mentally challenge themselves. It is a fantastic resource as it can be physically demanding, provides opportunities to take responsible risks, as well as use their imaginations.
“Adventurers and enquiring minds are nurtured from the early years, they are encouraged to keep trying, never rescued but expected to go further, to seek new ways of thinking and doing. Adventurers are encouraged to be dreamers, to think of what is possible, to challenge what is known and unknown”. (National Quality Standards, 2013).
Over time I have been privileged to observe our tamariki build their confidence to explore and test their own capacities to challenge themselves to let go while hanging upside down, stand on top of the bars or find different ways to get across the parallel bars.
According to Koringa Hihiko Active Movement “Children love to hang, swing and climb and it’s great for them. These active movements experiences help to develop strong muscles in the shoulders, arms, hands and fingers (upper body strength).” (Sport and Recreation New Zealand, 2012).
I enjoy observing the children build and develop their muscle control and strength to be physically able to move and hang on the parallel bars in different ways than previously able. The look of accomplishment and celebrating success on a child face is priceless.
“Face a challenge and find joy in the capacity to meet it”. Ayn Rand.
Here are some comments from the children.
“I’m a koala bear sleeping in the day time”. Payton
“Doing flips, flips are easy peasy”. Tiaki
“I got up here by myself”. Kayla
“I’m going to swing on these bars, tricks are good, it’s my favourite thing to do”. Peter
“Slippee, slide across on my bum”. Wyatt
“I can flip upside down and let both hands touch the ground”. Liam
“You know I can stand up here ‘cause I did gymnastics”. Livia
“Look, I’m not scared standing up here”. Khaia
“…the more risks you allow children to take, the better they learn to take care of themselves. If you never let them take any risks, then I believe they become very prone to injury. I like the type of child who takes risks. Better by far than the one who never does so.” Roald DahlNgā mihi, Susie