Deb's April Message
The Benefits of Outdoor Play
I’m certain that most will agree that it has been a LONG winter. While I look forward to spring for so many reasons, one of the biggest is how much I love seeing the children have opportunities for long periods of daily outdoor play.
Be it digging in the sand and dirt, playing in puddles, building structures with sticks and blocks, jumping among tree logs, dancing on the stage, or running in the open space, it is a delight to watch the children create their own adventures each day.
Most adults easily remember hours of childhood play outdoors. However, today’s children often have limited opportunities to connect with the natural environment and spend significant time viewing television and playing video games on computers. Richard Louv called this phenomenon, ‘nature-deficit disorder’ in his book, The Last Child in the Woods.
Our playground follows significant research that cites the importance of children spending time playing outdoors and connecting with nature in as many ways possible.
Increases self esteem and resilience.
Improves concentration, learning, creativity, cognitive development, cooperation, flexibility and self-awareness.
Supports creativity, self control and self-discipline.
Reduces Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) symptoms.
Improves eyesight. More time spent outdoors is related to reduced rates of nearsightedness in children.
Prevents childhood obesity.
Children will develop their love of nature and a foundation for the development of responsible environmental behaviour.
It is simply great fun to watch young children learning about their world from outdoor play.
What happens when I jump in the puddle? How does ice feel and sound? Can sticks stand up in sand? How do plants grow? Why do we slide down instead of up? How do I make my tricycle go faster? What is a shadow? What are the squirrels collecting? How can I build a structure that is really high? What does a cucumber smell and taste like? Do butterflies have to learn to fly? Can I climb to the top of the big tree stump? Can I go down the slide headfirst?
To learn about the natural and the physical world, every child needs to have substantial opportunities to experiment and to take risks.
We are proud that we have set the precedent for high quality early childhood programs in creating our nature playground and we welcome countless other educators each year to see our playground in full action.
We will soon be adding additional natural elements to the playground. I know that I join many in welcoming the spring this year. And how I again look forward to watching children delight and discover in their outdoor play and learning.
Thank you for entrusting your children in our care.