JOPERD Table of Contents
Adventure is Calling, and Kids Are Listening
Long before words appeared on the first
clay tablet, young children grew up learning
to read animal tracks in the mud, clouds in
the sky, the grain of wood and the cleavage of
stone, the furrows on the faces of their elders.
Through these fundamental, natural tools they developed the confidence to survive in a harsh world, the wisdom to manage resources, and the skill to navigate human society. Even as modern
civilization began to take shape, the ancient Greek philosophers
recognized the power of nature to teach important lessons (Hunt,
1999). In his Republic, Plato proposed sending young people to
participate in the adventure and risk of war so that they would
learn the character development associated with facing risk. However, even though Plato argued for the exposure to danger, he also
argued that if the threat to life became too great, then there should
be a secured means of escape (Hamilton & Cairns, 1961/2015).
Plato was probably the first recorded person to use the perceived
risk philosophy in education common in today’s adventure education programs.
Today, as our technological society drifts ever farther from its
roots, nature calls to us still. Though we no longer need to hunt
and gather our own food, our children still need to learn to build
healthy bodies and healthy minds, reconnect with the natural
world, and learn to be good stewards of the planet they will inherit
The way we educate children has a strong eff ect on their quality of life, in both the short term and the long. Outdoor education is a centuries-old concept that helps mold children into
productive, emotionally stable, and environmentally literate citizens with the skills, mindset and inclinations to make informed
choices (North American Association for Environmental Education, 2001), and it can be easily incorporated into any physical
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