Your child’s earliest learning experiences pave the way for success in their later educational environments. While traditional classroom lessons are still efficient for teaching children certain concepts such as, how to follow rules and adhere to a schedule, there are also benefits to taking learning outside.
Past and Present
According to NAEYC, kindergarten first became widely accepted in the United States around the 1850’s, but this occurred alongside the recognition of the importance of spending time outside as well. Over the years, society’s view of playgrounds has fluctuated with people backing away from outdoor play. Now, new advances in technology have made playgrounds safer than ever, and your child can learn many things outside rather than in the traditional classroom.
Importance of outdoor play
If you’ve ever tried to get a room full of wiggly preschoolers to sit still for a lesson, then you know how crucial it is to find ways to burn off their energy. With outdoor play, kids can run and enjoy being active while still mastering new concepts. Preschool playground equipment comes with features such as clocks and shape games that students can manipulate as they play. With an adult around scaffolding their learning, there is no end to what a child can discover while having fun.
Learning about science in a natural environment
When you think about it, it just makes sense to take science lessons outside. Consider taking your child on an adventure to a park with a rain gauge on the playground after a recent storm to see how much precipitation occurred. Alternatively, your child can enjoy using a color wheel to see how the sunlight makes the colors shine in different areas, and these parts of a playground are perfect for sneaking in a little lesson about color mixing.
moving beyond nature
Outdoor learning can also involve more than just observing and performing science experiments. Kids can also interact with features that add academics to the play space, such as gear panels. It is also important to remember that playgrounds are the perfect place to teach social skills. For instance, your child learns cooperation as you enjoy some time on the mommy-and-me swing.
Learning outside is always a great idea, but you do need to make sure that the place that you visit with your child is safe. When you go to a playground for the first time, give it a walk through before your little one takes off running. Inspect the equipment to make sure it is in good condition, and look for signs of a well-designed playground such as safety surfacing. Then, check out the unique features that are in the play area to start planning how you can use them to inspire learning.
When you take your child outside, you open up the door to a world full of discoveries. While your child will think that they are just playing, you can enjoy knowing that every skip, hop, and jump is stimulating their intellectual development.