Visiting the Bush Block can hold a mixture of emotions for many of the children. As we talked through what we were about to embark on and viewed some images of the place we were about to visit, it highlighted some of the feelings that the children were experiencing. Discussions like this occur before each visit which is how we create our risk assessment with the children. It provides the children with a sense of control and autonomy over their experience and supports them in thinking about potential dangers and how to avoid them. Feelings of excitement and anticipation can be clouded with fears and worries about an unpredictable environment, so providing opportunities for children to share their concerns, along with working through strategies to help them overcome their fears, empowers children, assists in self regulation and supports their ability to manage their feelings.
In response to our Bush Block visit, this week we have a ‘Bush Block play box’ which allows children to use the power of play and imagination to overcome fears and worries about experiences they may have encountered in the Bush Block. Using the props and adjuncts in a play table allows children to communicate their feelings in safe way, it gives them control as they can enter and leave a fictional world at will. It encourages children to play together, to self regulate and exchange ideas. This week we have witnessed children playing out their fears about the ants in the Bush Block using the play box props. It was amazing to listen to them exchanging ideas with each other, problem solving and acting out their plans to “get up high” because “they can’t get us up here”. We look forward to another visit to the Bush Block soon to see if working through this fear through play will have an impact on how they manage themselves in the real world.