Benefits & Importance of Outdoor Classrooms in Early Childhood
Many people would say that playing outside, whether it’s recess or gym, is just for children to run off some energy before coming into the classroom to learn. Is this really the truth though? The belief and truth behind an outdoor classroom is that begin outdoors children can learn more effectively in ways where is strengthens all developmental domains of the entire child.
Outdoor classrooms during early childhood are vital and are very important because through play and exploration outdoors with the support of natural and loose materials that children’s physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and language development can be enhanced in a more natural and comforting way.
If you visit my Pinterest account http://www.pinterest.com/slwight03 you will see a few different boards that breaks down the different developmental domains. Within each board you will see how each domain is positively influenced during outdoor play, as well as some possible outdoor learning experiences you could provide the children to enhance each particular area of development. In addition to this you will also find a board that also includes blogs, pictures, articles, studies that prove why outdoor learning experience are so crucial and beneficial for young children.
One pin in particular will lead you to a study done on the impact of outdoor play on children. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/420875527651252965/ http://www.imaginationplayground.com/images/content/2 /9/2960/an-investigation-of-the-status-of-outdoor-play.pdf. This study expressed that “most parents and educators agree that outdoor play is a natural and critical part of a child’s healthy development. Through freely chosen outdoor play activities children learn some of the skills necessary for adult life, including social competence, problem solving, creative thinking, and safety skills (Miller, 1989; Rivkin, 1995, 2000; Moore & Wong, 1997). When playing outdoors, children grow emotionally and academically by developing an appreciation for the environment, participating in imaginative play, developing initiative, and acquiring an understanding of basic academic concepts such as investigating the property of objects and of how to use simple tools to accomplish a task (Kosanke & Warner, 1990; Guddemi & Eriksen, 1992; Singer & Singer, 2000). (Clements, 2004). “The study also conveys findings related to the frequent use of electronic diversions and discusses several suggestions for early childhood professionals, classroom teachers, and parents for fostering the child’s enjoyment for outdoor play” (Clements, 2004).
Another reason why outdoor classrooms are so effective is because they are very diverse. No matter the children’s background, religion, or interests etc. all children can be included in this type of play and exploration. For these reasons outdoor classrooms are also inclusive. It also provides learning experiences that can be altered to children with special needs or learning disabilities. I also believe that being outdoors also creates an environment where children feel more comfortable, where they can learn at their own speed and within their own interests. Through this type of learning all children can be involved and benefit developmental.
The great outdoors are not just for children to run off some energy before learning, being outdoor is the children’s true classroom. When children get outside they not only enjoy learning better but they are learning better!