Leave No Child Inside! A Study of ECE Outdoor Program Environments Click mouse to advance slide Harvest Resources www.ecetrainers.com
How do you think about playgrounds for children? Do you see them as places to blow-off steam, giving children a break from the important lessons you plan for your classroom? Leave No Child Inside invites you to transform conventional thinking about outdoor environments, and to plan them as thoughtfully as your indoor environments for learning.
In his important book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Children from Nature Deficit Disorder , Richard Louv reminds us that unlike television (and we might add school), nature does not steal time. It amplifies it. It offers new possibilities.
The out-of-doors offers a larger world for children. It can provide places for freedom, exploring, and solace. Being in natural outdoor environments helps children thrive not only physically, but socially, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.
Likewise, there are human costs that come with alienation from nature. Today’s children are experiencing the symptoms: stress, obesity, fear, depression, and ADHD.
Well designed playgrounds help change these conditions for children—reducing stress, sharpening their concentration, and promoting creative problem solving. We can nurture children’s enthusiasm for the out-of-doors and their commitment to protecting nature for generations to come.
Beyond safety guidelines and risk management, this study guide invites you to consider these elements when planning outdoor environments for young children:
Some final thoughts about outdoor environments Fences and gates should not only protect a playground, but also foster good feelings. Define each outdoor play area as carefully as you do indoor areas. Create storage and clean up systems in convenient locations.
As you study the ideas here begin to make a plan for your program. What can you do differently tomorrow? What could you have in place in a month? What is your goal for the next few years?
Connecting children to nature
Caring for plants and creatures
Landscaping for adventure and drama
Creating places to feel powerful & competent
Designing cozy spaces and gathering places
Enhancing play with props and activities
Defining spaces for people and things
Leave no child inside. For further inspiration, read Richard Louv (2006), Last Child in the Woods. Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder NY: Algonguin You can prevent nature deficit disorder! Visit Harvest Resources for ongoing information. www.ecetrainers.com