“Let the children go outside and run off steam” is a common statement we all have heard. Have you ever thought about the diminishing value that statement gives to the wonder and and enthusiasm children have about the freedom of exploring the natural world? When children are given the opportunity to discover themselves and their connection to nature, they will more likely respect and protect our environment for their own future as well as generations to come.
I’m not referring to the playgrounds with rocks or rubber under the metal play structures. These structures do have value in promoting climbing, balancing and other gross motor skills, however, I’m referring to a playground of natural wonder that encourages children’s curiosity. These spaces not only have the capability of offering all the components related to large muscle development but they will provide a meaningful experience that relates directly to the children’s world, therefore helping to build a sense of identity.
In this type of space you might see a variety of ground cover such as grass, rocks, bark chips and soil. A holistic outdoor learning environment will have places to hide in, such as tree branches or shrubs, landscapes that enable dramatic play and the ability to care for and nurture plants and animals. There may be a place for the children to gather, read books, share discoveries or plan a game. This natural environment has many sensory opportunities that are just not available indoors. Not only is it complete with fresh air, it changes daily offering new learning experiences depending on the season and weather. If the children have the right guidance and a teacher who can share in the excitement and the findings, a whole world of leaning possibilities are presented.
Maybe we should consider changing the statement from “Let the children go outside and run off steam” to “Let the children go outside to create a dream”!
Jada has a Bachelor of Education, has completed her Yoga Teacher Training (300-hours) and a specialization in children’s yoga. She continues to deepen her own understanding through a dedicated practice and teaches adult and Kid’s Yoga throughout the city and incorporates yoga and the teachings in her daily family life.