Explore Learn Connect
Explore and Play is a way to bring back the outdoor free play that previous generations had granted and that slowly has declined over the past thirty years (Departement of Environment 1973).
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are working to transform Explore and Play in order to meet the new safety measures while ensuring that we can still enjoy the essence of the session.
We are slowly moving our focus on the mental wellbeing of the wider community, and we think that outdoor unstructured play and time spent in nature, is more than ever, very important.
School are open now, however things have changed.
The social distancing rules and the safety measures that have been introduced to accommodate children and provide education during this crisis might impact their perception of the world.
We know that the many fabulous teachers will do their best to keep the stress to a minimum.
We also know that to ensure the safety of pupils and staff, many important activities will have to be put on hold or at least they’ll take place in a different way.
Think about assemblies, singing sessions, or the use of certain equipment, which might be forbidden for the time being.
We still don’t know what impact this will have on our school community’s mental and physical health, but we know for sure that this can be mitigated by some simple measures, such as keep active and visit nature regularly.
Just like the 5 A Day recommendation, think at the above suggestions as a way to improve your wellbeing.
The aim of Explore and Play is to merge the above and commit to and focus on “being active in nature”. This is a very simple step that can bring many benefits to children.
Start visiting your local park, or woods and commit to an hour (or more) of unstructured time/play where children can be free to do what they do best: play.
But what sort of play?
We support child-led play, the sort of play that empowers the child by letting her grow into her capabilities.
Children will benefit from this experience because:
- It helps to build resilience.
- It helps developing creativity and critical thinking.
- It improves the general wellbeing.
- It helps to mitigate the after-school restraint collapse
Make yourself comfortable. Let your breath flow. In from your nose, out from your mouth. Imagine bright pastel color air going in. Give your stress and negative thoughts a dark colour and let them go out through your breath. Do it for 3 to 5 minutes.
03. Slow down
This is your moment, there is no rush. Slow down, listen, look, smell. Sit down and enjoy the colours of nature. Or keep walking till your legs ask for it. Try to be in this very moment.
Take a walk and observe the environment. Let nature reveal itself. Look on the ground and focus on the life that you can see there. Then move to the sky and keep your eyes on the clouds or the canopy. Be curious. Go further.
Connect to nature. Connect to yourself. Connect to those with you. A good exchange of energy and good intentions will build a better tomorrow.
Explore and Play and outdoor hub ground rules.
Here are a few ground rules that we suggest to adopt when out and about:
- Wear weather-appropriate clothing, footwear, and protective equipment. Go out in any weather unless extreme. There is nothing better than jumping in paddles under the rain.
- Bring water and healthy snacks. While out and about it is important to keep our physiological needs met.
- Leave behind screens and toys. Nature offers plenty of natural loose parts that will engage your children’s imagination. It is also a good opportunity to go screen-free and have a bit of social media detox.
- Make sure you take your rubbish with you. Leave no trace.