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In This Issue
Outdoor Play is Key to Child Development

Playing outdoors is crucial in the physical and mental development of children. In its simplest form, playing outside is a good way for children to get their daily exercise. With one out of three children overweight or obese, being active is critically important for the health of children. Lack of outdoor play has been linked to such problems as childhood obesity, increased reliance on behavior regulating medications, low self-esteem, and lower academic performance. Improving a child's health and well-being might be as simple as sending him or her outside to play!

Outdoor play and exploration can promote learning across all developmental domains and help ensure overall health, fitness, respect for the environment, positive social relationships, and readiness in academic subjects including science, math, language arts, and more! According to the National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play, playing outside improves children's gross motor skills, which increases their ability to process and remember new information. Furthermore, interacting with nature and other kids outside helps to stimulate the curiosity and creativity of children, and also boosts their confidence as they learn new things. 


A generation ago, playing outdoors in nature was a given. Times have changed. TV and computer use, unsafe neighborhoods, busy and tired parents, and elimination of school recess are just a few reasons children are spending less time outdoors. Many modern American children are likely to find themselves in the "highly scheduled" category, where life is a constant shuffle between school, sports, church, camps, lessons, or various other activities. This daily shuffle can be overwhelming and more often than not, playing outside is the last thing they want to do. So, what can you do to increase outdoor play for children in your care?


Try some of these tips to increase outdoor play:


  • "Buddy up" with other families and take turns bringing a group of kids to a park, sports field, or green space.  Set clear boundaries and allow the kids to move freely and play throughout the areas.
  • Go on a nature walk. Whether you're in a city, suburb, or rural area, a nature walk is a simple way to get your kids outside. Kids can observe trees, bugs, and birds along the way.
  • Consider having a sandbox, water table or other toys and play stations. Create small natural spaces or areas where kids can build forts and create their own play space.
  • Allow your kids to plant a garden in raised beds or planter boxes.  Have your kids make all the choices and do the work; from seeding through harvest.
Children's bodies want to move! They want to run, jump, climb, crawl, skip, lift, and leap. They want to explore, imagine, solve problems, experiment, take risks, and have fun. Their eyes want natural sunlight, and their lungs want fresh air. The outdoors offers all these things, and much more. What can you do to put more outdoors in your curriculum? No matter where you're based, whether it's urban, suburban, or rural, a great outdoor classroom is possible. It could make all the difference in a young child's life.

Benefits of Outdoor Play
Article Courtesy of


Children today spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation. A new Nielson Company Report indicates that children ages two-five years old spend more than 32 hours a week on average in front of a TV. According to the Keiser Family Foundation, the amount of screen time only increases with age, with school-aged children spending 7.5 hours a day on electronic media. View Article


Outdoor Learning
     Article Courtesy of 


The outdoor learning environment is an important element of the total care and education of young children. Outdoor spaces can enhance curriculum, especially when teachers responsibly supervise children who are engaged in unstructured play. Supervision is far more than just asuring sufficient teacher/child ratios. The supervision practices explored in this article deal with two primary issues. View Article


New Course from CCEI Covers Cultural Competence and Diversity


CCEI is proud to introduce CUR111: Cultural Competence and Promoting Awareness of Diversity to the online child care training course catalog.


This course focuses on essential principles and practices for promoting acceptance of diversity in the early childhood and school-age learning environments. Even if a child grows up in a relatively homogenous neighborhood with little diversity, he or she still needs to be prepared for life in a multicultural society. This course is relevant to all children and teachers, regardless of the cultural, racial, and ethnic demographics in their particular community.  


This Month's Trial Course: Motor Development and Physical Fitness  


CCEI offers CCEI121: Motor Development and Physical Fitness in Early Childhood as an online no-cost trial child care training course to new CCEI users during the month of July.


This course provides an understanding of the importance of motor development and physical fitness in the early childhood years and the ways in which they can become part of the curriculum. Participants will be able to define physical fitness as it applies to young children, identify five health related fitness factors, physical activity recommendations for young children and fundamental motor skills.  


Alumni Profile 

Victoria Hutchison 

Salina, OK    


Victoria began her career in childcare when she became a nanny and truly found her calling. During her time as a nanny, she became passionate about teaching and found a position with Head Start to help launch her teaching career. Victoria is motivated by being an advocate for children. She says, "I want every child I come into contact with to love learning and exploring because I'm so enthusiastic about it."


In her spare time, Victoria enjoys reading and playing video games with her husband. She plans to take more courses with CCEI and continue her education in both early childhood education and elementary education. It is her dream to become the first member of her family to have a PhD. Victoria recommends CCEI to everyone and says, "CCEI has taught me so much. I had little experience in some areas of childcare, particularly special needs, and they taught me so much that I needed to know."


Congratulations, Victoria! CCEI is proud to call you a graduate!


Contact Admissions at 1.800.499.9907, or visit for more information or to enroll online.


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