Let’s Talk…Indoors Outdoors
The field of early childhood has given much attention to defining quality – particularly when it comes to our indoor environments. We need to be giving equal attention to our outdoor environment as well.
Think about your space for children outside. Is it mainly a large motor experience? While the outdoor play space is an excellent opportunity to develop physical skills like running, pedaling and climbing, it also the perfect space to grow language, social and intellectual skills. The outdoor space is an extension of your classroom and should be considered another space for learning. When given thoughtful attention, natural outdoor play spaces can stimulate children’s imaginations and engage their sense of curiosity as they explore in ways that indoor spaces cannot. Ways to expand your outdoor classroom beyond large motor activities include a music area, a storytelling circle, a sand and water play area, a garden, and/or a puppet theater.
If you are already “there” with taking your indoors outdoors, have you ever thought of going the next step and becoming a Nature Explore certified classroom? ISU Extension & Outreach has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to grow this approach early childhood education.
P.S. Thank you to Jamie Clancy of Blessed Sacrament Child Care in Waterloo for the picture.