On the Guardian website today, George Monbiot tells us that all school children should have a week in the wild each term, for the sake of their schooling. A group of schoolchildren are seen combing the sea shore and finding interesting creatures: Monbiot’s comment is that often the children who are seen as poor performers in the classroom flourish and lead in a different setting.
So a celebrity campaigner for wilderness and better politics can see that somehow extramural and extracurricular activity can radically improve performance in school. Good. But the deeper lessons? The linear logic, cause and effect model used to say what is best for children for their own good, is plainly not fit for purpose. We spend educational funds on computers and not on what works best for children, especially the children who need most help. Why do we do that? Why are we closing outdoor centres in favour of “core” activities? Who educated the dunces that make those sorts of decisions, for heaven’s sake? Could it be that they were failed by the same system and cannot rescue themselves?
Parents have consistently over the last 50 years said they want their children educated to make better decisions than are currently made in the public sphere. And parental preference has never had even a look-in in the priorities pursued by schools. It is time that changed.
You may also want to take a read of George Monbiot’s previous article on rewilding the child.