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It is a four letter word, and one that conjures up another four letter word- fear, for many parents. Risky play is something that we readily embrace at Painted Oak. Defining it as, “thrilling and exciting forms of physical play that involve uncertainty and a risk of physical injury,” we are proponents of hazard-managed risky play. Examples of such play include: play with height, play with speed, play with dangerous tools, play near dangerous elements, rough-and-tumble play,

and exploring alone.

Guiding our Forest School program are highly trained educators who look for opportunities for children to take risks and have adventures. By embracing risk, children are able to make choices that involve a challenge, make mistakes, build their confidence and resilience, encourage their natural interest and curiosity, and show understanding of the need for safety when approaching new challenges.

I would like to utilize this mindset as we contemplate what school will look like for our children in the Fall, in this new COVID-19 world. It has been proven time and time again that being outdoors is good for the physical and emotional health and well-being of all people. Research is also providing proof that being outside is a healthier place to be within a COVID-context. So you can probably see where I am going with all of this….

Having completed our eighth year of Forest School programming on 225 acres of forests, meadows, and fields, Painted Oak is uniquely positioned to provide a stimulating, confidence building, emotionally nurturing safe outdoor experience for your child in the Fall. Leaving the protection of your home right now puts yourself at risk, no doubt, but so does stumbling out of bed in the morning, walking down the stairs, and getting into a car. Did you know that 18,000 people are injured every year by falling TV’s? That doesn’t keep us from having them in our homes. The point here is about “managed risk;” through the careful planning and implementation of safety measures, we are able to minimize the exposure to danger. We hold on to handrails, we wear seat belts, we wear masks in public, we limit the number of people gathering in one place, we wash our hands more frequently.

Painted Oak is trained, Painted Oak is experienced, Painted Oak is confident-

we are ready to welcome your young ones back out to the wild.

Won’t you join us?

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