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!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pay It Forward...Gifts to Give!


I simply love the concept of Pay It Forward. In any arena of life, giving something to someone else is always good sentiment. I was thrilled when I received the news from Kierna at Learning for Life that I was the winner of one of the Pay It Forward packages! What fun...a package from Ireland!

I received the package about 2 weeks before the American St. Patrick's Day holiday. In it was a little stuffy leprechaun, a fantastic book, a beautiful calendar, some Irish flower seeds, and some information about their country. Of course, I held on to it until the festivities began...I mean, what could be better than receiving a package with a leprechaun in it while celebrating St. Patty's Day and wearing hand-made hats adorned with Shamrocks?!?!

Since I don't have a classroom of my own, I asked my son's kindergarten teacher to do the honors of sharing the package with her class. I have to say, she was MORE than creative! Prior to opening the gift with the students, she removed the leprechaun and hid him in the classroom. She rearranged several elements of the classroom such as turning the tooth chart upside down, rearranging the calendar numbers, changing the name tags around, and more. She told the children that when she opened the package in the morning, a mischievous little leprechaun had jumped out an disheveled the classroom. She told the children that he hid in the classroom and they would have to look for him and signs of his mischievous acts throughout the day! The kids were COMPLETELY hooked and enjoyed the idea that a little leprechaun was in their class. At nap time, the children found the little leprechaun hiding in their blankets! What a treat...a leprechaun straight from Ireland! Thanks Kierna!

My son and his kindergarten class - adorned in shamrock hats and holding their new leprechaun friend!
(sorry for the blurred is school policy)

Now it’s my turn to Pay It Forward.

So if you would like to play AND are willing to pay it forward from your own blog, then here is what you do.

Leave a comment on this post stating that you want to play, and I will randomly choose three players.
You can be from anywhere in the world!!
The rules are:
• To the three participants I will send a fun package representing sunny California in the United States, but you must be willing to Pay it Forward to three more people.
• Comments will remain open until April 21st 2012.
• If you are chosen you will need to send me your postal address so that I know where to send your parcel.
• After you receive the package you will need to Pay it Forward in the same manner on your blog.


  1. Kristin, the photo syas it all - blurry faces & all - glad the leprechaun found a good home. I agree the whole concept of pay it forward is a great one. I'm even hoping I'll catch it again at some point next year with my next class. Kierna

  2. Kristin, some of the kindergarten clsses I teach at here in Washington do this for St. Patty's Day. Some even get a little footprint stamp and stamp little green footprints all over the classroom. They leave a tiny note to the kids and the kids go in search for the leprechaun's gold! What a fun activity! I love the smiles on the kids' faces when they are just so convinced that they have been visited by a real leprechaun!