June 2024 Newsletter – Outdoor Explorations – The Importance of Outdoor Explorations

The Importance of Outdoor Explorations

In our preschool settings, our children’s interactions with the outdoors are usually limited to time spent on the playground. This outdoor playground time is extremely beneficial to students and is a greatly needed part of any preschool day. However, our preschoolers can gather a vast array of  benefits from added additional learning and exploration in outdoor settings. Whether it is right in our  playground areas or a neighboring park, exposure to nature and learning in these settings have a profound effect on children. Benefits to physical and mental health, cognitive and emotional  development, and even awareness and understanding of our natural world can occur during times of outdoor explorations.

Both structured learning and free explorations in the outdoors should be a part of daily routines for our preschoolers. Tapping into the benefits that come with outdoor learning will help our children’s development and enhance their experience in our classrooms and preschools. As Early Childhood Educators it is our responsibility to provide the opportunities for these meaningful outdoor experiences. We must set a well thought out outdoor environment and plan the lessons to get the best use out of the outdoor spaces available to our children. Providing a good outdoor environment will keep our preschoolers engaged and learning, and reaping the development benefits that outdoor learning provides.

In an ever increasing digital world, preschoolers are spending less time in nature and in the outdoors in general, than ever before. This type of sedentary lifestyle and constant link to digital screens has caused a rise in issues such as obesity and ADHD among many others in young children. Reconnecting our students to the natural world, through outdoor explorations and other outdoor learning and play is crucial to the healthy development of young children.

Many activities and lessons can be planned along with free play for our students in our outdoor spaces. Other places near our schools can also be used. Parks or nature centers can be great learning opportunities. Even if we are not able to go to a park or a neighboring nature center, using the space we have, consistently and creatively will provide the outdoor learning environment that our students need. There are many resources for ideas of creative activities and lessons that incorporate nature and natural environments that we can use to get our children back to the outdoors.

 

For the main article Outdoor Explorations, CLICK HERE

For the article What are the Benefits of Outdoor Learning and Explorations?, CLICK HERE

For the article Maximizing the Learning Potential of Your Outdoor Space, CLICK HERE

For the article Tips for Creating Meaningful Outdoor Experiences for Preschoolers, CLICK HERE