Many people believe we are producing a generation of ‘cotton wool kids’, who are missing out on experiences that help to raise their self-esteem, give them confidence and increase motivation.
Current research suggests that not allowing young people to engage in independent mobility and environmental learning, denies them the opportunity to develop the skills and resilience that they need to be able to be safe and manage complex environments. There are also indications that such restrictions have long-term implications for young people’s future development, health and well-being.
View the long term implications for not allowing children and young people to experience risk, challenge and adventure.
It is sometimes argued that exposing young people to any risk is dangerous. In fact, the opposite is true. Teaching young people to manage risks for themselves and take sensible decisions makes them safer. It also helps them to develop as mature adults, responsible and mindful of others.
LOtC is statisitcally very safe. View chart showing LOtC safety statistics.
Learning outside the classroom helps young people to develop the ability to cope with and experience a wide variety of challenges. It requires them to make informed choices and to understand and take responsibility for the consequences. It leads to a positive ‘can-do’ attitude. Risk and challenge can be provided in all learning outside the classroom contexts – from activities within school grounds, to adventurous expeditions overseas.
The challenges which young people face in many learning activities outside the classroom require the management of risk. Managing risk through appropriate planning, supervision, proper equipment and a regard for other factors such as the weather or the time of day is what contributes to making these activities safe for young people while still offering sufficient challenge. These activities not only give young people the opportunity to manage risk for themselves, but also provide wonderful opportunities for them to be actively involved in risk management planning.
The Health and Safety Executive is clear on the benefits:
“Exposure to well managed risks helps children learn important life skills, including how to manage risks for themselves… children, in particular need to learn how to manage risks, and adventure activities such as rock climbing, sailing and canoeing are an ideal way of doing this.”