The Benefits of Giving Children a Challenge
The importance of challenge is something that is often referred to in education, with teachers encouraged to adequately stretch young minds to help them to meet their full potential. But challenge shouldn’t be limited to a text book, as the benefits of giving children a challenge outside of the classroom builds confidence, self esteem and motivation.
The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom believes that the long term implications for not allowing children to experience challenge, risk and adventure include low levels of fitness (including obesity), an inability to manage risk (and irresponsible risk taking), a lack of environmental awareness and concern, limited horizons and a lack of innovation, entrepreneurship and enterprise. Quite the (negative) list, then.
The Health and Safety Executive has also taken a strong stance on the benefits of learning about risk management in a practical way:
“Exposure to well managed risks helps children learn important life skills, including how to manage risks for themselves… children, in particular need to learn how to manage risks, and adventure activities such as rock climbing, sailing and canoeing are an ideal way of doing this.”
We’d obviously add coasteering to this list too. The combination of climbing and traversing, sea swimming, exploring caves and jumping into the sea can help young people to push themselves to the edge of their comfort zone and experience the positive outcomes of having faced challenges and overcome them in an enjoyable way.
A 2012 report by the National Trust stated: “we need to make it easy and safe for our children to get outdoors” and we couldn’t agree more. You can read the national Trust’s “Natural Childhood” report in full here. As we find ourselves in the middle of the school summer holidays, it’s great to think how many young people we’ll take coasteering, sea kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding over the six weeks who will be going back to school in September with more self confidence and an appreciation for the great outdoors.