In the upcoming weeks we will be extending our ventures outdoors and looking for all the signs of Spring: birds, flowers, green, bugs, etc. We will continue to start our mornings outside as we have done all year and as the weather gets warmer we hope to bring some more of the classroom outdoors. We will take an easel outside, water plants, and practice some simple hammering outdoors. We also hope to start some seeds in a few garden boxes. As our plants grow we will use them in various ways during the summer weeks, such as herbs and vegetable/fruits for snack and flowers for plant watering, flower arranging and vocabulary.
The benefits of outdoor play are important for development. Children need to explore, imagine, try new things, and learn alone or with friends. Ultimately, what any of us learns most deeply is what we have explored. Physical activity is necessary for children's development and health. Open space offers children opportunities for big movement, vigorous social play, and explorations big and small. Their activities help them refine motor skills and teach them how the world works. There are many challenges facing children today including: Lack of exercise, preoccupation with electronic media, perception of outdoors as an unsafe place to play, isolation from and fear of nature, and lack of engagement in and connection to the world, including nature. Outdoor play addresses these challenges by:
1. Getting children outside and more active
2. Involving children in hands-on, loose-parts outdoor play
3. Creating opportunities to learn how to handle outdoor risks safely
4. Connecting children to nature in ways that encourage them to connect more deeply
5. Teaching children about cause and effect through outdoor and interpersonal activities
6. Providing children with a wide range of activities that support their holistic development
(The Outdoor Classroom, by Eric Nelson, 2012)
We will also be exploring some new songs, poems and books around gardening, birds, bugs, water animals and summer themes.
The summer program is fast approaching. Although I will not be in the classroom daily I will be checking in with staff and will be helping staff create a plan for the summer weeks. I will miss seeing your children daily but look forward to sharing some summer time fun with my own children and I look forward to returning for the beginning of a new school year in August.
Thank you to Paige Lamthi for donating seeds to the classroom!