I've mentioned in past posts how I've been trying to add a greater emphasis on natural elements in our yard. We've added bins and buckets filled with pinecones, hay, large tree cookies, small tree cookies, shiny stones, logs, stumps and more.
Today my heart nearly skipped a joyful beat. As I was walking through the yard during nap time, a special something caught my eye. There, in the middle of the sandbox, was this ornate little sand castle. The castle was adorned with rocks, leaves, pinecones, and even one large tree cookie. The children obviously took great pride in their work because their masterpiece was surrounded by protective cones from the bike area. This little piece took concentration, effort and collaboration. It was a beautiful sight to behold!
Nature deficit disorder? Nope...not here!
It Not "Just Recess" Anymore!
Teachers often heave a sigh of relief when they take their students out to recess. Finally! The children can burn off the pent up energy they had been accruing for the past few hours indoors. But what if we change our outlook on outdoor play time? What if we create an outdoor environment that offered all of the learning opportunities that one would typically find indoors? What if children could run out to a well-planned play yard to find experiences in math, science, nature, dramatic play, water, building and construction, sensory activities, physical development, art and music? What if they play yard developed critical thinking, discovery, problem solving, and cooperative skills? The result would be that we wouldn't have "just recess" anymore. We would have The Outdoor Classroom!