More than just child’s play…

It’s been almost a year since ROAM recruited our wonderful session leaders Laura and Kaleigh. In a series of blogs, Laura reflects on some of the brilliant benefits of roaming, and being a ROAM leader.

ROAM sessions are full of fun but there is always so much more going on. Take climbing ‘the mountains’ for example – this is a popular activity in ROAM sessions which is packed full of opportunities for learning and development. From the physical challenge of climbing up the steep, slippery bank to the emotional challenge of overcoming fear and the sense of achievement at reaching the goal; the communication and collaboration that takes place to make sure everyone is okay and has the help they need to reach the top, and then the exhilaration of sliding all the way back down on your bum! 

These are just a few of the ways in which playing outside, free from adult instruction, supports children’s development. It’s always been important to me to undertake work that I feel passionately about and the ROAM ethos and model fits so well with my personal and professional values as a forest school leader and play worker. As well as promoting learning and development, ROAM sessions are also about promoting children’s right to play and enabling them to have some freedom and independence. They are about spatial justice and children having access to community spaces, with children being seen and heard as active participants in the community – not confined to play at home and in spaces designated by adults as playgrounds. 

For some fascinating recent research from the States on how walking in your neighbourhood as a child impacts on your social mobility in adulthood, take a look here.