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!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nature's Wrath

My site usually focuses on the beauty and delicacy of nature. I love to tell of children frolicking in the woods and building intricate sculptures in the sand. However, today I will pay a bit of homage to the other side of nature - Nature's Wrath. Last night California was hit by an extremely brutal display from the infamous Santa Ana Winds. We had gusts of wind up to 90 MPH.

Hailing from Florida for many years, I know those winds to be well into the category of hurricane force. I also knew enough to store every loose article in our yard (unlike many of our unlucky neighbors).

The winds howled outside and licked through the old doors of our 1931 home. The kids watched as flashes of lightning lit up the sky and illuminated the bending trees and swaying palms. Leaves were blown in each direction and our yard was becoming an eclectic collection of other peoples' cans, branches and yard waste.

My kids watched on in awe and truly became aware that nature's forces are often well beyond our imagination. It seems Mother Nature likes to show herself here and there just to make clear who's really in charge of our world.

Thankfully, our home wasn't damaged, but I cannot say the same for many of our neighbors. Our campus was closed today due to damage, so I am unsure of what I will find in our Outdoor Classroom (sniff!).

I tried to go in to campus today, but the roads were too cluttered with 100 year old trees laying torn from the earth across the streets. I am praying that there isn't too much damage to our yard, but whatever the damage, we will fix it and be up and exploring the outdoor classroom once again!


  1. Glad to hear you & yours are doing all right after one crazy SoCal night. On the bright side, I've been driving around collecting some of the debris to add to our collection of natural play things. Biggest find: down palm fronds for a fort.

  2. I was thinking the exact same thing ;-)

  3. From what I hear the yard is a mess and filled with the nieghboring homes roof tiles. =) See you tomorrow for clean-up day.

  4. Ugh! What a shame! Thankfully, the weather didn't follow the prediction of worsening winds tonight. All is calm once again...ahhhhh. :-).

  5. Sorry to hear about all the damage but for goodness grab the trunk for play purposes - absolute necessity in any outdoor space where possible.