In the modern world of games consoles and interactive toys, it’s easy to overlook the importance of outdoor play.
The chance to connect with the natural world; first hand experiences of life and growth; endless opportunities for creativity and imagination; improved fitness and physical development – the countless benefits of outdoor play have a real positive impact on children's lives.
Outside is a natural environment for children. There is a freedom associated with the space which cannot be replicated inside. If children feel at home in a particular space it seems natural to teach them in that area; education should not be a chore but an enjoyable worthwhile occupation. Children playing and learning in an outdoor environment appear more active, absorbed, motivated and purposeful, and develop a more positive attitude to learning.
The environment where we work and play affects our emotions. Children will often be less inhibited outside, and more willing to join in with activities, talk and come out of their shells. In overcrowded spaces children's behaviour can change, some can become more aggressive, while others become more solitary.
Outdoors is the perfect place to learn through movement, which is one of the four ways through which children can learn. Along with this are the huge health benefits associated with being outside and active. At ECO, we ensure that through activities such as running, climbing, digging and swinging from branches, the exercise needs of children are more than met every day thus reducing the risk of childhood obesity. In recent times there has been a rise in the number of children who suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. This is due to the lack of exposure to sunlight - not something you will need to worry about if your child comes to ECO Preschool.
We have already mentioned ways in which outdoor play can enhance children’s personal, emotional and physical development. There are also some other areas like:
Children learn through negotiating plans with their friends, maybe to build a shelter for a hedgehog or working out whose turn it is first on the rope swing. They learn to co-operate through group games and enjoy the company of others as they play and relax.
Communication and language
Children are motivated to talk by stimulating experiences and a day in the woods gives the children plenty to talk about. At Into The Woods we understand the value of these experiences. We create a relaxed, supportive environment in which the children feel safe and valued, and at every opportunity throughout the day we promote high-quality talk that develops the children's confidence and speaking and listening skills.
Understanding the world
Where do we begin with this area? Learning about the flora and fauna, life cycles, the weather, the seasons, growth, habitats, insulation, light and dark, sound, forces....the list is endless. We are in nature's classroom and make the most of it.
The benefits of outdoor play could fill a whole website by themselves!!!!! Outdoors is where your kids should be!