In a world of ever-increased standardized testing, several early education professionals have come forward in favor of “outdoor-ification.” In other words, they believe that the indoor classroom limits the creativity and learning of students, particularly early learners. See below for six positive reasons to bring early learners outdoors!
1. It allows children to make choices and embrace creativity
Free play, or unstructured outdoor play, allows children to decide what to do and with what materials. Will early learners make a high tower of rocks? Will they dig as deep as they can in the sand? Allowing early learners the freedom to seek their own outdoor entertainment develops decisiveness and creativity in actions.
2. Outdoor learning gives the freedom and training for children/students to encounter and handle boredom
Unstructured, outdoor play allows students to make choices. With structured indoor classes, students are told what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. Unstructured activities permit students to negotiate boundaries while exploring the limitless nature of their minds and creativity. When students are posed with unstructured situations outside of school, for example, the time between getting home and dinner, the student who has experienced unstructured play and autonomy in their own entertainment is better prepared to confront boredom by creating their own activities.
3. Outdoor learning assists in sun and weather protection knowledge
Does your child know how to dress appropriately in layers for cold weather? How about when, where, and how often to apply sunscreen to protect against sun exposure? Outdoor education allows children to encounter and enact safety measures that indoor-only education does not afford.
4. Outdoor learning fights childhood obesity by allowing children to play outside freely and get moving
Outdoor education, or schools that stress outdoor activities, allow children to get out of their chairs and expend energy. This activity paired with a nutritious diet can work to prevent childhood obesity.
5. Speaking of room, outdoor learning assists in self-control and body awareness
Have you heard about children in grade school classrooms falling out of chairs, or accidentally pushing classmates too hard during games because they are lacking body awareness? Children who frequently utilize their full range of movement develop proprioception, or body awareness, which aids in the development of full control of their bodies
6. Outdoor learning encourages collaboration and communication skills
Finally, outdoor instructional play in place of independent work on paper allows early learners to practice socializing and working together with others. Learning to negotiate social situations is a crucial skill needed for entry in grade school and later on in life.
Does your child’s early learning center incorporate an outdoor component into the school day? Let us know how in the comments!
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