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Headmaster's Blog

2019-10-11

As half term rapidly approaches, it seemed appropriate this morning to focus on adventure as the theme for our assembly.  We discussed the notion of Biophilia, a term coined by the Harvard-educated naturalist, Edward O.  Wilson, who suggested that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.  I think that this is evident when you watch our children at play but also when you discuss with adults the deep satisfaction that they experience when they spend time outdoors in a natural environment. 

Richard Louv, author of the book ‘Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder’, laments a world where the average American child is said to spend four to seven minutes a day in unstructured play outdoors, and over seven hours a day in front of a screen.  While it might seem like alarmist rhetoric to call this problem a disorder, it certainly helps to convince me that, as adults, we should do all we can to encourage our young people outside, away from screens and tempt them instead with adventures in the natural world.

So this morning I talked with the children about how not all adventures need to be big.  Indeed, this can be overwhelming and prevent you from even taking the first step.  Instead I suggested that they might like to plan some small adventures over half term.  I gave the examples of sleeping in a tent in the garden, floating down a river on an inner tube or cooking a meal outside on an open fire.  Regardless of what the actual adventure consists of, it seems clear to me that taking the time to have fun outside is a hugely important part of what it means to be a thriving and happy human being.

If you would like some ideas for suitable adventures you could begin here: 

https://childmind.org/article/ideas-for-getting-your-kids-into-nature/ 

You might also find inspiration by reading Alastair Humphreys’ blog and book about micro adventures:

https://www.alastairhumphreys.com/microadventures-3/

And in anycase, you could do worse that copying out this quote and sticking it on your noticeboard in the kitchen!

‘Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction’
E.O. Wilson 

John F Gilmour
Headmaster

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