Home' Teacher : August 2011 Contents curriculum & assessm ent 43
which is unk nown. At home, this requires
confident and responsible parents who not
only foster independence and thought, but
also provide the structures and boundaries
within which children may flourish.
Schools likewise have an important role,
both inside and outside the classroom.
Outdoor education programs are some of
the more important aspects of the many rich
learning experiences that schools provide,
mainly because they allow students to chal-
lenge themselves in ways that are rare in our
urbanised and increasingly regulated soci-
ety. E xemplary outdoor education provides
young people with safe risk and safe chal-
lenge so that they learn to meet the unfamil-
iar, overcome difficulty, cope with discom-
fort and, at times, deal with consequence,
while learning to cooperate, collaborate and
coexist within a small group.
It’s only recently that I learned that when
I was out roaming Barbados with my friends
that our parents always knew exactly where
we were. I also discovered that they had ear-
nest debates about the level of freedom a nd
the nature of the boundaries they imposed.
We were always under scrutiny, always rela-
tively safe, but we enjoyed sufficient auton-
omy and freedom to encou nter and experi-
ence the unfamiliar and unregulated. Most
importantly, we were trusted to do the right
thing and to be responsible. T
Simon Gipson is the Head of St Michael’s
Grammar School, Melbourne, and an
occasional contributor to Teacher.
Gill, T. (2007). No Fear: Growing
up in a risk averse society. London:
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation .
Louv, R. (2005). Last Child in the
Woods: Saving our children from
nature-deficit disorder. Chapel Hill,
NC: Algonquin Books.
Skenazy, L. (2008). Why I let my
9-year old ride the subway alone. (1
April.) New York Sun. Available at
Skenazy, L. (2009). Free-Range
Kids: Giving our children the
freedom we had without going nuts
with worry. San Francisco: Jossey-
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