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Outdoor Classroom

In concert with modern child development research findings, the concept of the outdoor classroom is built upon the premise that children are complex beings. To nurture the whole child, early childhood education should follow the fundamental principle that children are learning everywhere and all the time.

Children need a broad variety of learning experiences and opportunities to grow in areas such as gross and fine motor development, social-emotional development, language development, and creative expression. The outdoor classroom evolves from the real needs of children, offers activities that are personally meaningful to them, and fully embraces developmentally appropriate practices in
early care.

Characteristics of the Outdoor Classroom

  • Most activities that can be done indoors can be done outdoors. Some activities occur best outdoors, while some can occur only outdoors.
  • Children can participate in a full range of activities, including many activities that are traditionally thought of as “indoor activities”.
  • The outdoor space offers a balance of areas for physically active and less active play.
  • While outside, children frequently have the opportunity to initiate their own learning experiences and activities, with teachers available to support them.
  • The outdoor curriculum evolves from, and changes with, the child’s changing needs and interests.
  • Children experience nature in as many ways as possible.

Benefits of the Outdoor Classroom

Physical:

  • An increase in physical development, capability, and activity
  • Setting up patterns for an active, healthy lifestyle
  • Fewer children suffering from diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and ADD/ADHD

Cognitive:

  • Stronger language, problem-solving, and communication skills through projects and group activity
  • Developing an interest in science and math through connecting with nature
  • Fostering learning through self-initiation, control, and personal responsibility

Psychological:

  • Happier
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Effective relationship building in a cooperative, non-competitive environment
  • Building a healthy and balanced internal psychology from time spent alone

We believe that A Place to Grow Preschool is a perfect forum for these hands-on learning opportunities. If you have additional questions, please email Director Sherrie Damas at sdamas@ojaiusd.org