Early learning teachers play a significant role in supporting how children develop positive dispositions related to outdoor play experiences and appreciation for the environment. For example, in early learning environments where children have that support, children have stimulating environments and have the options to play for long periods of time, in all kinds of weather, positive dispositions toward outdoor play are strengthened. Think about what happens when teachers ask children if they wish to take kites outdoors on that windy afternoon. For children that embrace such an experience, they not only display a zest for the science and physical attributes required for kite flying, just as important, they build upon the idea that outdoor play can occur in all kinds of weather.
Banning and Sullivan (2011) identified standards for outdoor learning that we are interpreting here as dispositions. Adults support children to develop a disposition to want to play by role modelling the standards presented by Banning and Sullivan. To learn more about the types of behaviours that children would display with each of the dispositions, click on the boxes below.
Support children to develop a disposition to want to play outdoors by helping them and role modelling by being:
Curious and taking initiative
Eagerly experiments and makes discoveries. Asks questions and discusses ideas and tries new things.
Engaged and persistent
Concentrates and chooses complex experiences.Persists with trial and error. Seeks help from tools or people.
Imaginative, inventing and creating
Exhibits and appreciates a sense of humour. Engages in pretend play, trying out new things. Explores and experiments.
Able to exhibit reason and problem solving skills
Active exploration leads to identification of issues with child-initiated solutions. Employs strategies to solve problems and collaborates.
Taking risks and responsibility
Chooses challenges and has a growing awareness of own ability. Follows through with increasing independence. Communicates and expresses satisfaction.
Reflective, interpreting and applying
Relates past experiences to new situations, generates ideas, and makes predictions. Speculates on what others are thinking. Uses play, representations and discussion to process information.
Think about the children who have experience flying a kite in the wind. Then their imaginative play takes them to wanting to use fabric to invent super-hero play scenarios in the wind. Children climb to the top of rocks, capes are flying in the wind, then tied to the trees; pretend food from the mud kitchen is incorporated into the play. What types of dispositions are being encouraged? Why are these important as a way to support children in developing healthy dispositions toward outdoor play? How do the adult attitudes and role modelling influence this play?