Today I was working in a school that wanted me to do quick outdoor challenges with all its classes as part of its activity week. This gave me an opportunity to try out an idea that many play workers frequently give me on courses: a rope trail. This is not something I would set up for just one class as it does take time. However I felt it would suit all ages and abilities and thus be worth the time and effort.
I’ve blogged about using ropes before. An old climbing rope is a wonderful resource and here it was used to good effect. I put various obstacles up along the way including…
The nursery children were given a choice as to whether they wanted to wear blindfolds or simply keep their eyes open. Almost all of them chose the latter option which allowed them to look at anything they wanted and stopped them worrying about not being able to see anything.
However, one child kept her fleece scarf on the whole time. She completed all of the course completely without seeing where she was going.
The most moving part of the day was watching one 5-year old child complete the course almost entirely unaided. She wasn’t wearing a blindfold. She didn’t need to. From birth she has been completely blind and lives in a world where she has never known light or colour. Watching her slowly, delicately feel every object with the greatest care was like seeing a classical pianist perform. Her fingers told her every detail that other children in their rush had missed. Her explorations gave everyone who saw her an insight into her life. The blindfolds provided a comparative equality that had been missing.
The adults who work with this girl are building on the experience and are planning to use this as a potential method for the girl moving into primary school as a way of giving her more freedom and independence. Sometimes, it’s the simplest of activities that provide the spark that can help us meet all children’s needs.