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Experts Peg Great Outdoors as Next Gen Education Provider

Experts Peg Great Outdoors as Next Generation Education Provider

On November 25, renowned British childhood consultant and author, Tim Gill, will join three New Zealand experts in their fields to show parents and educators what must be done to revolutionise an education system that is no longer serving children.

Joining the regular Guardian contributor for ReWILD the Child 2 are New Zealand nature-based early childhood educator Jan Beatson, Maori Adviser and Conservation Biologist Dr John Perrott, and American Deep Green Bush School Co-Founder, Joey Moncarz. The event expands on the original ReWILD the Child featuring British filmmaker David Bond, and four New Zealand risky-play advocates in March 2016.

Moving lessons outdoors to mix with the wisdom of the natural world is the answer to a childhood education crisis created by the march of technology, epidemics in diabetes, obesity, mental illness and downright irrelevancy. Each speaker will articulate this proposition from their own perspective; a specially tailored 18-minute-cut of multi award-winning Scandinavian-based NaturePlay will exemplify the approach.

“The fact is that personal qualities such as resilience, respect (for people and the planet), a sense of who we are, what we can do and what matters to us cannot be taught by teachers in a classroom” says Gill on the ‘whole person’ ethos now recognised as essential. “They are learnt in a large part from our own efforts and our own mistakes: through play, exploration and discovery. As many of us know from our own childhood memories, the outdoors provides the ideal environment for this kind of learning. The undeniable fact that many children today are spending more and more of their leisure time indoors only adds to the importance of the time they spend outside in nature.”

The evidence to remove children from desk-bound learning and devices is compelling. Whether it comes from research in Gill’s recent book, No Fear; Growing up in a risk-averse society, or from Sir Peter Gluckman’s Mismatch; Why our world no longer fits our bodies, the message is the same. An education system designed during the Industrial Revolution by industrialists and society’s elite, isn’t working now.

Some of the most extreme malfunctions are seen in the United States today where recesses are stripped from a child’s primary school day in order to get test scores up. Actor Matt Damon prides himself on championing a groundswell movement to get children back outdoors and away from abject testing. NaturePlay features his endorsement.

Ex-pat Brit and LA resident Sir Ken Robinson was one of the first to ever weigh in on this conversation, particularly the death of creativity and divergent thinking in schools. He doesn’t advocate altering the current education system; he wants to see a total re-build.

In Auckland, New Zealand, teacher Joey Moncarz and tax lawyer Oksana Simonoff have picked up that mantle.

This year they founded the country’s first Ministry of Education approved outdoor, child-led school. Moncarz is adamant that this free-range ethos is the way forward for children who face the same challenge as the planet: an uncertain future. He says students educated in the DGBS fashion will be more socially and emotionally developed, they will know how a genuine democracy functions, and that freedom requires responsibility: “They will have a deeper understanding of the world - they will have spent their youth bonding to the natural world, so that they will care enough about it to do something.”

He is aware that conventional thinkers could worry about kids being ill-prepared for the ‘working world’ as the trend in educating in nature grows. But have they considered what that world might look like in a decade’s time?

“It is estimated that half of all jobs will be automated in the next 20 years. Other jobs are being offshored to Third World countries. To anyone paying attention, the goal of corporations is full automation. Given these facts, in addition to increasing global ecological destruction and increasing economic instability, the best form of education we can provide is one that nurtures creativity, resilience, social skills, cooperation and courage.”

Details: 2 - 4.30pm, Saturday November 25, 2017

The Parenting Place, 300 Great South Road, Greenlane, Auckland.

Single tickets $29| Double pass $49

Speaking bio’s and subjects:

Tim Gill—Celebrated UK scholar, author and founding patron of the UK’s Forest Schools Association was awarded an honorary doctorate for his ‘outstanding contribution to improving children’s lives.’

‘Why a Rich Diet of Childhood Experiences Feed the Mind, Body & Soul’

Dr John Perrott – Highly regarded lecturer at Auckland University of Technology, Conservation Biologist and Mātauranga Māori adviser, with over 20 years’ experience.

‘Combining Old Ways of Knowing with New Ways of Doing’

Jan Beatson – One of New Zealand’s leading exponents of outdoor education for almost 40 years. Founder of the Out and About Life Education Trust and ever-expanding network of Play and Learn nature kindergartens & playgroups.

‘The Great Outdoors. Where Children Learn How to Think, Not What to Think’

Joey Moncarz – Enterprising educationalist, re-wilding researcher, co-founder and head teacher of New Zealand’s first Ministry of Education registered ‘bush school.’

‘Raising Humans, Not Machines; Education for Maturity, Wisdom and Responsibility’


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