"Magic Circle" Message from Debbie Green
December 10, 2013
Children Need Nature: The real value of PIC's Magic Circle Outdoor Classroom
A few years ago, I attended my very first workshop on nature playgrounds. While I have always loved taking children on trips to nature centers and to local parks with lots of greenery, I had never thought about the concept of a "nature playground." Attending that single workshop led to a complete change in my own thinking about what a playground can be.
Clearly the concept of "nature play" has caught on around the country. At this year's annual NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) conference, instead of just a few workshops offered on the topic, there were countless sessions, and those sessions were standing-room-only!
Driven by significant new research on positive outcomes seen when children have sustained connections to nature play (and the converse negative effects of "nature deprivation"), this is clearly the new "hot topic" in early childhood education.
Prior to coming to PIC, I was so pleased to hear that PIC was developing its own outdoor classroom. And now, as we are beginning the last stages of the Magic Circle, it is exciting to think about all of the opportunities that we have to take the lead on this topic in the Philadelphia early care and education community.
With the full vision of the Magic Circle Outdoor Classroom now within our reach, I wanted to share some resources on nature play and learning.
- Read Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv, the current major piece of work out there.
- Helping Children Learn to Love the Earth Before We Ask Them to Save It: Developmentally Appropriate Environmental Education for Young Children from the Dimensions Educational Research Foundation.
- Learning to Love the Earth...and Each Other from NAEYC's Young Children, a peer-reviewed professional journal.
- Infants and Toddlers Meet the Natural World from NAEYC's Young Children, a peer-reviewed professional journal.
- Learn more about Nature Explore, the organization that helped with the concept plan for our Outdoor Classroom.
Happy nature exploring!