The 5 Keys to start with...
Creating Safe Outdoor Schools
The outdoors provides vast amounts of inspiration for learning and play, but it can present dangerous and hazardous situations if we are not prepared and aware of our environment and its geography. Outdoor safety is a key component to developing an outdoor education program. Equipment, safety procedures, and daily reminders are all apart of staying safe outside. As a teacher at a nature-based preschool and with a background living and playing in the outdoors growing up, I come with a fine-tuned set of knowledge on how to stay safe while experiencing the freedom of being outside. There are five key safety areas to focus when developing an outdoor program:
Gathering Knowledge Each outdoor environment presents its own set of dangers and hazards. It is important to consider the geography and climate of the area that we are playing and learning in before setting out on daily adventures. We can also benefit from being mindful of neighbors, local wildlife, conservation areas, and local resources that can be accessed and relied upon for support.
Resources, Clothing, and Equipment As we gather knowledge about the environment, we can decide what kind of clothing and equipment is required for daily activities and to provide appropriate protection for everyone participating in an outdoor program. This can include tapping into local resources such as organizations that can donate supplies and equipment and creating outdoor clothing lists for each season.
Safety Procedures Creating a standard set of safety procedures for everyone to follow in daily activities and for emergency purposes is important to the overall safety of everyone participating in the program. This can be in the form of take-home letters, comprehensive documents kept in an easily accessible binder, posters throughout the indoor or outdoor classroom, and daily verbal reminders.
Making Safety Fun and Engaging We all want to have fun learning and playing in the outdoors. Making safety a fun and engaging experience will hold children’s attention and help them to remember. Safety reminders can be incorporated into games, activities, songs, or asking the group about safety before starting an activity.
Ongoing Communication Ongoing communication between teachers, parents, and children about safety promotes awareness and helps everyone stay safe. Setting monthly safety meetings, designating individuals to act as daily safety guides, and creating a safety suggestion board are some ways of encouraging consistent communication
. Join Chantal and I as we discuss outdoor safety and how I can help you create a safe outdoor program: https://vimeo.com/564652792