22 Acre campus
Rain or shine, our preschool children are outdoors daily. Children who are with us until 12:30 are outside at least once. Children who stay until 3:30 are outside at least twice and children who are with us until 5:30 are outside at least three times.
We have two playgrounds, an outdoor classroom, and an extensive campus to explore and we are outside as often as possible.
Extending Curriculum Through Discovery
We use the outdoors to extend our teaching. Our children learn math, science, gardening, ornithology, construction, vocabulary, and etymology outdoors.
They learn to ask questions and seek the answers for themselves. Can sticks stand up in sand? How does mud feel? Why do we slide down but not up? What does a turnip smell and taste like? Do butterflies have to learn to fly?
This past fall, we did an outdoor unit using pumpkins. We compared sizes and weights and the differences between pumpkins and gourds. We used the pumpkins as musical instruments.
The children extended this unit further on their own. They used the gazebo to make a pumpkin store and used leaves for cash transactions. They bargained back and forth as they ‘sold’ their pumpkins to each other. Finally, we rolled pumpkins down the big hill in the back and watched them rot over several months.
It was wonderful to see their creativity and cooperation. We incorporated observation, music, counting, and social cooperation into this unit and yet from the children’s perspective, it was just plain fun!
Outdoor play provides an opportunity for children to take healthy risks and build resilience in a safe way. It also helps children to build confidence in their own capabilities.
Our children are always carefully monitored so that the environment is safe, but we do so in a way that’s unobtrusive. The children feel free as they climb over logs in our forest or build a fort near the gazebo. And, they are free. Free to learn how their bodies move, free to work together to solve a problem, free to learn to love the outdoors.