Childhood Days in Nature
“If you see me sitting on a chair and lost; I might be lost in the lanes of my childhood and revisiting my innocence” - Unknown
Pause, Lean back; stretch your legs and close your eyes. Now, gentle slip back to the best days of your lives. Let me guess, you slipped back to your childhood days! Isn’t? What were you doing? What is around you? Were you running or swooping on a swing? Jumping or hoping or climbing a tree? Chasing or hiding behind a wall? Making mud piles and laughing endlessly on the sand pit or jumping puddles of rain and joy? Were you? What was it like for you? Did you see many plants and trees and cute little puppies? Did you smell rain or mud?
Childhood were the days of mindless laughter, aimless running, and inquisitively exploring old unconstructed buildings. We were lost in time and space with games and activities. Those were the days of ungrounded imagination and creativity and spontaneity.
Days of innocent stories and thoughtless questions. We made friends with kids of the adjacent lanes. We had falls and frequently hurt our legs and tried everything possible to hide it from our parents. Crazy isn’t? Our wants were so little and joys were insurmountable.
We were hiding and seeking ourselves. We were hop scotching life lasting memories. Little did we know that years later we would look back at those days and sigh –“Those were the days!”
Our childhood was predominantly in the outdoors isn’t? In the long lanes lined with trees and plants, open grounds with barbed wires, grass beds with puddles, gardens with flowers and fluttering butterflies and hovering dragonflies; trees with fruits and chirping birds! It was unstructured, unbridled and yet so beautiful! Nothing less than a fantasy, right?
Coming to the now, you are most likely to see your children sitting on a couch than a heap of sand; holding a gadget instead of a pile of sticks. They are most likely to be watching cartoons rather than creating fantasies with their imagination.
They are most likely to be debating about the budget of the movie than awing about how their favourite superhero flew from a high raised building. They are most likely to be sending friend requests than reaching out to a friend in the neighboring lane. Now are the days of PSP and GTA Vice city than open grounds and Lagori.
The past 20-30 years technological advancements has shape shifted our environments and drastically changed the fabric of our lives. Beneath this fabric, there is an undercurrent of fear. Several studies suggest that fear has been the driving force of our choices and our actions.
Several studies also suggest that the shift in the fabric of our lifestyle has led to children being obese and sedentary. We see children preferring to eat fat greased and processed food than healthy options.
Children are more likely to be seen indoors and lost in their gadgets than engaging in play or conversations with people or kids. They are more prone to restlessness and boredom. Their resilience power is meager and the ability to adapt to any change or discomfort is scanty. This makes them susceptible mentally and physically.
More and more children are diagnosed with learning disabilities and millennial allergies and phobias. Being outdoors involves the whole body, mind and heart. This involvement enhances learning abilities and channelizes their energy towards learning in comparison to just working the body or the mind in isolation.
Outdoor play enables the child to build resistance and immunity to various allergens, diseases etc., In play, they are more open to face and overcome their fears such fear of insects or heights or even social shyness. They develop to be more resilient, courageous and strong individuals.
In the context of well being of the children, does fear and fastness of our lifestyle have certain consequences on children? Has it altered our parenting style? Has this fear led us to insulate our children from the spirit of childhood? Are children are “growing" too fast?
A lot of research has been done in the recent past to prove the benefits of children playing in the outdoors and unstructured play and adventure.
And, this research confirms that the wellbeing of the child has a direct connection with the amount of time they spend in the outdoors. Studies have also shown that when exposed to nature, children love spending more time in the outdoors amidst trees and birds than indoors. And, this exposure immediately results in positive developments in children, physical, intellectually and emotionally.
Engagement with nature seems like just fun and physical activity but the children benefit in comprehensible ways. As Pluto rightly said –“We learn a lot more about a person in an hour of play than a year full of conversations”.
The question is – Really? Does nature and time in the outdoors have such a phenomenal impact on children? How do I know for sure that, free play and outdoor time is quintessential for the holistic development of my child? Can’t nature be replaced by technology? And virtual learning? If these are the questions or similar questions popping in your head then wait for the next article !
Continue Reading here Back to Nature Blog - 2
Author: Ashwini Govind
Isomorphic Framing - Learning Life Lessons from a Climbing Wall
Isomorphic Framing- When the Wall is like life
Climbing a wall is like living your life , just take it one step at a time!.
One might question, What has the wall got to do with real life?
In our work as Experiential and Outdoor Educators, we use high ropes and adventure based challenges as metaphors for intrapersonal and interpersonal process work.
When the holds, harness, helmets, carabiners are like your resources, opportunities or challenges in life!
When the belayer represents all those people who extend help and support you in life.
When the rope becomes the trust or relationship you have with family and friends that creates your life support system.
An metaphor is an idea, object, or value that is like another different idea, object or value in the participants life. It is symbolic, denotes comparative likeness and similarity between the two.
Isomorphic Framing in facilitation is used as a intervention for creating a metaphorical structure. For example, in the case of a climbing wall, The activity of climbing along with the holds, harness, ropes, safety devices, belayer create a meaningful link to other aspects of the participants real lives.
Essentially Isomorphic framing creates a metaphoric relationship between two different environments (activity/experience and real life) and enhances the transfer and application of the learning from one environment to the other and enables the participants to change the way they think and behave in their real life.
Priest, S., & Gass, M. (1997) Effective Leadership in Adventure Programming.
Vishwas Parchure - DEEP - Diploma in Experiential Education and Practice
The Ultimate Guide on How to Plan an Outbound Training Program for your Team / Company
Outbound Training in India is known with lot of different names like Outbound Learning, Outdoor Learning. Adventure Based Learning, OBT Training. Corporate Adventure Offsite, Corproate Outdoor Training, Team Building program, Outdoor Management Development Training etc.
The essence of an Outbound Training Program is based on Experiential Learning methodology and the Experiential Learning Cycle that consists of various phases of learning from experience, reflection and transference of the learning to the workplace settings, by a trained and certified outbound facilitator who uses a method called questioning, debriefing or processing that is based on the experience and behaviors observed in the activity.
Here are 10 ways to make your outbound training effective, drive behavior change for better performance and give a return on training investment.
The following are some of the important steps in planning a safe and effective outbound training program for your company's Team
1. Identify Learning Needs and Outcomes for the Outbound
The first step in any training is to identify the need for conducting the outbound. The learning objectives need to be identified clearly with the expected outcomes. It is generally advisable to consult the various Business Heads, the participants and the business needs to come up with the learning needs.
Typically about 2 Learning objectives can be addressed in a day (6 hour) through an outbound training intervention. Avoid putting too many learning objectives and outcomes as the training focus may be diluted. Keep sufficient time for reflection and debrief that can include individuals working with a reflective workbook, group discussion and faciltiator debrief.
2. Identify Location for the Outbound
Outbound Training needs an environment that is safe for learning and gives a sense of belonging to the participants. Ideal locations would be green and serene environments that has a therapeutic effect like nature based camps and those that bring the participants out of the comfort zones.
Outbound Training is also extensively done at places like resorts and in banquet halls. The environment can have a major effect on the experience and learning of the participants. Some Learning partners will have their own campsites with all facilities for Outbound Training Interventions.
Other improtant aspects of selecting a outbound location would be
a) Distance and Time to reach
b) Cost and Budget
c) Faciltiies and Amenities available - A major one is space with shade and sitting areas for debrief.
d) Food Quality, Hygiene and Cleanliness
3. Selecting your Outbound Learning Partner
Selecting your Outbound learning partner can be the determining factor on the impact of the program. Training Companies that specifically focus on experiential education tend to be better at design and delivery of the programs that can meet client expectations.
The Outbound Training partner should be able to understand the learning needs and outcomes, Industry segment, and business needs. They should design the program keeping in focus the learning objectives and the outcomes. Should be capable of coaching, mentoring and evaluating to measure the impact after the program.
4. Selecting the Outbound Facilitator
The outbound facilitator is the person who will deliver the program. Its important for the facilitator to be an expert in experiential education and have the relevant experience delivering outbound and Adventure training programs.
The facilitator should also be involved in understanding the learning objective and outcomes of the program. Ask the learning partner on who will facilitate the program and get in touch with the facilitator much in advance to discuss the objectives, outcomes and flow of the training agenda.
Apart from the Faciltiator the support staff and adventure staff are important components of an outbound faciltiation team. make sure there are expereinced and qualified support and adventure staff that accompany the facilitator.
The facilitator to participant ratio is utmost important, while recreation programs can have 1 facilitator to 40-50 participants, educational programs on behaviour comptency should not exceed 1 facilitator to 20-25 participants and Leadership Development programs may have 1 facilitator to 10-15 participant ratio.
Learn more on how to become an outbound trainer
Lean more on Outbound Training Certification
5. Preparing the Outbound Training Agenda
An agenda that captures the learning objectives, desired outomes along with the session flow is important part of the outbound training design. The training agenda has to detail the time sequencing along with the objective and outcomes of each outbound activity. The activities has to be suited to the age, gender and physical abiities of the participants. special care has to be taken to include diverse and specially abled participants.
Having a plan is a great way of ensuring that the training sticks to the learning objectives however its equally important to keep space for emergent learning that cannot be planned. A good outbound program balances a planned and emergent approach to learning.
6. Preparing the Participants
The success of the outbound program will also depend on the involvement and participation of the employees as Outbound learning programs require the participants to get involved, share experiences and make the program participatory. Make sure to inform the participants to set the expectations on the nature of the program and guidelines to prepare for a better outcome.
7. Safety and First Aid
The Nature of Outbound Activities invloves movement and high energy. Its important to plan for safety and this involves the following.
a) Safety that includes not just physcial safety but also an emphasis on creating a safe learning environment with emotional, psychological and social safety for all the participants.
a.1) Safety instructions to the particpants that details what to wear, what to bring, what to expect, what to do and what not to do. The least participants want are surprises and coming in a dress code that restricts movement. Its important to collect information on any medical or special care needs of the participants.
b) Recce the place and preparing the space by removing any obstacles that can come in the way.
c) Putting up sign boards for areas that are out of access. Putting indicators of the training area.
d) All equipment being used should be clean and disinfected before used. Any Adventure Equipment must be from reputed brands that have accredition with UIAA certification.
e) The Faciltiator and Staff should be trained in basic first aid and emergency handling.
f) A comprehensive First Aid kit, cold pads, along with a certified first aider, stretcher has to be kept ready.
g) An emergy vehicle to take care of any injury or need of a medical checkup or intervention has to be on standby
h) Handy List of closeby doctors and hospitals to be prepared in case of emergency.
8. Measure effectiveness
Set up realistic expectations from the start and establish behavior competencies and perforamnce metrics to measure the outcome of the program. The learning partner should be able to help you quantify the metrics and report back with detailed feedback and analysis.
The kirkpatrick model of training evaluation can be used to measure outbound training efffectivness. This includes the level 1 of Reactionary feedback that is taken from the participants on the day of the event. The Level 2 of learning both on the day of the event and within a months time after the event. The third and the most improtant aspect would be behavior change at the workplace, these can be done within 3-6 months time with a 1-1 survey, supervisor rating and 360 feedback.
A good idea is to measure the metrics both before and after the program, this will help to not only measure the impact but also the progress with actual performance at the workplace.
9. Followup and Regular training
Outbound Training is not a one time quick fix and the participants may need followup, further mentoring or coaching with regular assessment and intervals of training for the behavioral changes.
Its a good idea to measure effectivness and perforamnce and reguarly conduct outbound training over a period of time to see the impact on behaviroal change and performance at work.
10. Finally Remember
The budgets spent on outbound will be higher than a classroom training sessions and so is the overall impact. Sometimes companies tend to spend huge amount on the resort facility and a paltry sum on the training by hiring a emcee or team building jockey to deliver the program, making the program ineffective.
So decide whether you want to do a fun based recreational program or a outbound Training based development program and balance between the needs and outcomes.