The emergency exit to outdoor learning...
Sounds like you found an enlightened ALO Julia. I've heard some very different stories, including one at a meeting this morning: an ALO who said that play spaces shouldn't have bushes, because they are hiding places for predatory paedophiles. The play people actually followed this up and checked the crime stats with the local police. The reply: there had been many incidents of child abuse over last year or so - but not a single one involved predatory paedophiles in bushes. (See PLAYLINK website for details.) The moral: challenge 'worst first' thinking wherever you come across it.
Yes the ALO did make it clear that a lot of the views expressed were his personal ones! Interestingly the concern about bushes did come up - in the Q&A session afterwards I did suggest that bushes were important in many ways within a play space - luckily a nursery manager with whom I worked last year was also present and we could explain the play value to the guy - we had to work with staff who were worried about not being able to see babies behind the bushes, with the nursery being situated within the grounds of a mental health hospital. As yet no patient has gatecrashed the nursery garden. I also suggested the option of including judicious pruning of bushes to ensure some visibility as a compromise. The guy did hang around for my own presentation which did focus on the need for creative outdoor playspaces... so yes I think the guy is on the play path to enlightenment!
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