Tips for a safe outdoor activity

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Dhriti Malhotra
Principal, Manav Rachna International School, Gurgaon

Outdoor activities are fun learning processes. Children learn a lot through such activities, making them more confident, self-reliant and enforce team spirit. But, safety is a prime concern for all schools. Here are a few tips to ensure safe outdoor activities.

Outdoor activities can make a significant contribution to the education of children of all ages. They can aid in the development of cross-curricular skills through the use of problem solving methods and approaches. Many activities encourage self-confidence and self-reliance while a few teach children to work as a team and value the contribution of others. Thus, they also help children to work co-operatively, communicate effectively, and review and reflect on their actions. As Dhriti Malhotra, Principal, Manav Rachna International School, Gurgaon, puts it, “Educational trips are frequently organized to give our students greater exposure and concretize their learning.”

Selecting the activity…

The selected activity should be appropriate to the age, maturity and fitness of all students of the group. It is also necessary that the activity skills, abilities and experience level of teachers accompanying students are better than children.

Selecting the venue…

Safety is a major concern while taking students outdoors. It is very important to select a venue which is safe for children and has the basic amenities. “Students’ safety is a priority while going outdoors. Before the visit, a pre-visit to the venue is done by the school staff (usually the Headmistress/Coordinator/Activity Coordinator). Safety of the venue, washrooms, approach of general public, availability of food and water are taken into account,” shares Dhriti.

Besides, the choice of the site should also be made on the basis of factors like the purpose and level of the activity, the time of year, weather, and time available.

The group size…

The size of group should also be factored in so that the teacher student ratio is such that each child gets adequate attention. “The teacher student ratio is kept low at 1 teacher:10 students. Adequate support staff also accompanies the group,” shares Dhriti.

Moreover, supervision level can be increased if children are very small or there are special needs children in the group.

Potential hazards…

There are a few potential hazards, which are common for all. These include road traffic accidents, accidentally falling from height, cold/heat related conditions, common injuries, children getting lost, abuse by other children, unplanned entry into water, substance abuse, etc. So, what can a school do to ensure that outdoor activities are safe for their children?

Safety measures…

Dhriti underlines the following safety measures which schools should ensure before taking children for an outdoor activity or educational tour:

  • Written consent from the parent should be taken.
  • Wearing of school uniform and I cards should be made mandatory.
  • Phone numbers of parents of students who are going should be kept handy.
  • The school group should always carry a first aid kit.
  • The school doctor/nurse should accompany the group (specially for adventure activities for the smaller children)
  • For in city locations (especially for adventure activities), the school ambulance should also accompany the group.
  • All teachers accompanying the group should be adept to give first aid.
  • Regular disaster management drills/sessions should be conducted to help generate awareness and give tips to students to handle themselves in case of emergency.
  • Some element of risk is always involved in any activity, it is important to teach the children that they are the key to their own safety.

If all these tips are kept in mind, outdoor activity can be a fun and learning experience for children.

Dhriti Malhotra is Principal at Manav Rachna International School, Gurgaon. Benchmarked by Advanced USA, spread across 5.15 acres of land and situated in the heart of the city, Manav Rachna International School, Sec. 46 Gurgaon, is a highly progressive English medium private school, providing quality education to 2700+ students across Pre-Nursery-Grade XII.