Crumbles Castle Adventure playground Family day, London, UK.

CEO Blog Post: Resilience – What is it?

Resilience.What is it?

I have been thinking about this a lot. I think it means the ability to cope with what happens but of course this covers a multitude of subtle and not so subtle implications.

We at IPA believe that play improves resilience but why is this so important?

Children are born and adapt to the world around them, they learn through their own senses – electrical messages going to their brains. They are influenced by their environment and the people around them and those closest to them have the greatest influence.

I am not going to cite the evidence for this simplistic description- I am going to presume you are with me so far.

Why do children learn and adapt? Presumably to survive- this seems to be why all living things do what they do.

So if a child is definitely going to survive what happens next? Which mechanisms kick in. Is there an aim to live the best life possible? To achieve? To be ‘happy’? To survive ‘more’?

Science hasn’t answered this and neither has philosophy.

If there is no further desire than to survive then all our learning and energy will continue to use the skills and techniques that we have needed to survive in our day to day lives and this is when it gets interesting.

It may be that we are responding to non threatening events as if we are being threatened. Using survival skills when we don’t need them.

Think about that.

So what is resilience? how does it help?

Maybe part of being resilient is recognising when we are being threatened and when we can be calm, knowing when to use stress and adrenaline to get things done and when we should take some deep breaths and keep still.

Resilience is being able to roll with the punches, respond appropriately and keep on going when it seems too hard.

These are key skills that you can learn on adventure playgrounds.

And that’s why IPA runs them!