U is for Up and Up and Up

31 August 2011 · 12 comments

in Outdoor Play

This post is written in celebration of the 20,000 Teach Pre-school Facebook followers. This is a testimony both to the interest of pre-school practitioners who visit the page and Deborah for her hard work in keeping the Facebook page and her Teach Pre-school blog up and running whilst working full time. Congratulations.

I chose the letter “U” because I believe that the only way is up! Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn give us the opportunity to share, enjoy and learn from each other.

Last week I was visiting an outdoor pre-school in Sweden and this little girl gave us all a lesson in how to climb a tree. How to climb up, and up and up! Here it is…

You call that climbing! Here let me show you…

First get onto the tree…

Then stretch up to a branch above your head…

Swing your legs up and over the branch…

And pull yourself up!

Get your feet up high and into the crouch position

The rest is easy…

I’m really getting high…

But don’t worry! I’m fine!

I’m the King of the Castle up here!

In the I Ur och Skur pre-schools in Sweden, tree climbing is regarded as a normal play activity. The staff recognise and understand that children rarely put themselves in a situation where they feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

There are some super posts about tree climbing. Recently Squiggle Mum blogged about her child falling from a tree and Kindling has an excellent post about the issues around tree climbing. Enjoy and celebrate the art of going up, and up and up!

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Kierna C August 31, 2011 at 18:16

Love it Juliet – my fondest memories in Norway are of children just sitting way up in trees enjoying the peace & quiet.


Sarah August 31, 2011 at 19:58

I’ve only just found your blog! LOVE it!!

As a teacher from the US public school system, tree climbing is off limits on the playground. While I was teaching in Norway, I LOVED how it was accepted. I thought it made so much sense to allow them to climb and explore! They learn so much through the experience!!! Thank you!!


Deborah (Teach Preschool) August 31, 2011 at 21:42

What an incredibly fun lesson! Hmmmm, we have a few trees in our yard!


Ayn Colsh August 31, 2011 at 22:48

Tree climbing was one of my favorite past times as a child! I wish we were allowed here in the U.S. (maybe even just our region).I’m waiting for the pendulum to swing again and more folks will understand the value of this type of play!


Roses - Mama Magic September 1, 2011 at 15:47

I wish there was a ‘super like’ button that I could click on!
Grew up climbing trees, loved the calm and adventure they offered. Did almost break my back once, but was fine the next day. By the time we turned ten, we knew every tree, leaves, fruits, birds, wild-life, wood type (firm /soft/ breakable) and fragrance associted with them. What a lovely hands-on way!


Juliet Robertson September 1, 2011 at 17:32

I think tree climbing symbolises the freedom of our childhoods – let’s not take this away from children in our care!


Scott September 1, 2011 at 19:04

My favorite part of this post: “The staff recognise and understand that children rarely put themselves in a situation where they feel uncomfortable or unsafe.”

I think this thinking could be applied in lots of things for kids. Let’s let them take a few risks – they know their limits. (And let’s respect them when they communicate they are uncomfortable with something – and let them decline to do it.)

Thanks for a thought-provoking post, Juliet.


Sherry and Donna September 1, 2011 at 22:23

I LOVE how the staff are standing back from the tree instead of hovering underneath waiting for this capable young climber to fall. They are sending her a valuable lesson in trust! … Beautiful post Juliet!
Donna 🙂 🙂


KAREN GREEN September 2, 2011 at 11:37

Children should never be denied the opportunity to climb trees… surely this should be a natural right of passage through childhood. At the far end of my grandfathers backyard there were 3 enormous willow trees, one each for three little girl cousins. We loved our willow trees. We each sat perched in our trees, talking across the space between them to each other for what seemed like an eternity. As adults, we all remember our willow trees long after they, and our grandfather have passed on.


Males in Early Childhood September 2, 2011 at 13:53

“Children rarely put themselves in a situation where they feel uncomfortable or unsafe.” That is one of the wisest things I have heard/read.


ChildsPlayMusicPerth September 27, 2011 at 04:56

I’ve just found your blog and I love it! I think this is a great post and I too believe that “Children rarely put themselves in a situation where they feel uncomfortable or unsafe.”

I spent much of my childhood climbing trees and I’m so angry that this natural part of childhood has become frowned on or even forbidden. Children need to take calculated risks and if we give them the opportunity they surprise us with how sensibly they behave.

I had my share of minor falls, I got scrapes and splinters, I once got stuck and had to be helped down by my father, but the lessons I learned from tree-climbing were priceless: think before you act; plan your progress; test the branch before you put your weight on it; never be afraid to ask for help when you need it; keep going and reach your goals even when it is hard and scary; anything that is worth doing involves risks, and learning to manage those risks is part of life. You learn far more from climbing trees than just how to climb.

Keep on playing!

Alec Duncan


Juliet Robertson September 27, 2011 at 08:01

Thanks Alec – there is indeed a lot of life lessons that can be linked to tree climbing.


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