My graduate thesis studied the value of internal and external locus of control in relation to child’s self-esteem. Basically, external locus control is when a person feels they are not in control of things which happen to them and internal control is when a person feels they have a role in their situation or circumstance. Something as primitive as play, without adult interruption, is a great tool to develop an internal locus of control where a child can feel in control of choices and decisions they are making and later retry this in other situations. This is encouraged each time the Seedlings meet in the woods.
“Play is how happiness is maintained”– Peter Gray
I am always full of excitement prior to our time together. I never know where the time will lead. Of course there are ideas are in my head but for the hour we are in the woods, the children make the choices of where and what we shall happen. Sometimes we even have to vote! Democratic play!
As a formally trained teacher, I was taught to have lesson plans and objectives but as I’ve grown into my true teacher self I’ve found that the best teaching for my outdoor setting is to invite the freedom to explore and have an experience. Sadly, I feel the need to explain myself perhaps because people have not seen me work with children. It is managed magical chaos. There is a method to what is going on but the children control of what they will experience. Perhaps that is what makes my outdoor program unique and so well loved.