Small adventures and good clothing
Emma Wiking is a teacher at a pre-school run by Friluftsfrämjandet’s (Swedish Outdoor Association) I Ur och Skurs Utveckling in Haninge. She has worked as a teacher for almost 25 years and is also a qualified outdoor recreation teacher. Her commitment shines through when we talk about outdoor recreation and her job at I Ur och Skur. Here you’ll find her best tips for outdoor recreation for the whole family.
Outdoor recreation and nature have always been part of Emma’s life, from her childhood with her family and as an active member of Friluftsfrämjandet (the Swedish Outdoor Association) – as a Skogsmulle kid and as a youth leader for groups on mountain hikes. That’s how she realised that the teaching profession suited her and had applied to a teacher training programme when the phone rang.
“When my father called and said he’d found this outdoor recreation teacher training in Storuman it felt fantastic. Just the thought of combining the teaching profession with my love of outdoor recreation. Of course I was going to apply!”
After her education, Emma started to work as an outdoor recreation teacher and has done so for 25 years, the last 20 years of which have been at Friluftsfrämjandet’s pre-school/school, I Ur och Skur. The organisation is built on outdoor education, outdoor recreation and enjoying movement. Given that her days are spent mostly outdoors, clothes and equipment are obviously very important.
“I’d say that good clothes are one of the cornerstones of our operations. You notice it immediately on the kids if they aren’t properly dressed. Regardless of whether you’re a child or an adult, you need clothes that keep you warm and dry – otherwise being outdoors isn’t fun.”
OUTDOOR TEACHING METHODS AT I UR OCH SKUR
Emma is clearly suited to the teaching profession, like a duck to water. It shines through as we talk, and she is delighted to tell us about her days.
“Being able to influence and see children’s development is what makes my job such fun. During spring the younger children learnt about birds, and a month or so later I heard a two-year old shout out that they’d heard a Great tit singing. Or like just now, some of the five-year-olds came and asked if we could make jam on the outdoor stove as they’d found some ripe berries. At such moments I realise how far we’ve come and what we’ve achieved. It’s incredibly neat!”
The pre-school where Emma works was the first purpose-built concept pre-school started by I Ur och Skur Utveckling five years ago. It is located near a small nature reserve where outdoor education truly comes into its own.
“When small children learn something there’s a lot of repetition involved. They have to try the same thing again and again. To be able to do that, their clothes need to allow movement, such as climbing and running, but also keep them warm when they more calmly explore snowflakes or watch ants.”
OUTDOOR RECREATION IN OUR EVERYDAY LIVES
For those who aren’t used to outdoor recreation getting going can be hard. It might feel like a major project having to think about equipment, good clothes, or just coming up with activities.
“Remember that it doesn’t need to be complicated. You have to start with those small adventures and become comfortable in nature. After that it gets easier to continue to the next step and plan larger things.”
In other words, there are plenty of things you can do with your children outdoors. Small things that create lasting memories, and that maybe spark a lifelong interest.
“Most people that think back to their childhood remember the simpler things, like picking berries with grandmother, looking at constellations of the stars or reading a book under a fir tree. Things they want to experience again later in life – with their own children.”
A pair of good all-weather boots
It’s preferable to buy a larger pair, so that there’s space for both woollen insoles and a pair of thicker woollen socks. These will keep the child warm in autumn and winter. By spring their feet will have grown and it will be warmer outside – so you can easily carry on using the same shoes for another season by removing the insoles and thick socks.
Wool and Galon® – two layers of gloves that fit right
A pair of thin woollen gloves closest to the hands with a pair of pvc-coated (Galon®) gloves on top. Think about function when selecting a size – a glove that stops children picking up a spade will soon be taken off. Another tip for helping keep gloves on little hands is to use a jumper with a thumb hole that the child puts on after the gloves.
Layer 1 – Closest to the skin.
A good woollen base layer next to the body is best for retaining heat. Some children feel that that wool can be itchy when worn against their skin. In those cases it usually works if the child wears a t-shirt underneath and then the woollen base layer as layer two. This is not optimal in terms of warmth, but sometimes you have to choose your battles.
Layer 2 – Preferably with a zip.
Having a zip on the next layer is very good to help regulate heat easily. Children soon learn to judge for themselves and pull the zip up/down.
Layer 3 – Shell clothing instead of overalls
Remember that movement also creates heat! Overalls may well be thick and warm, but they can also limit mobility. So children end up feeling cold anyway. Two layers of woollen undergarments and one set of thin shell clothing – trousers and a jacket – often keep children warmer as they can play themselves warm.
About I Ur och Skur
If you are curious about I Ur och Skur - click to read more on ther page (external link)
Book tips for little adventurers
At Friluftsfrämjandet you can get many good book tips and inspiration for more family adventures. (Swedish)