Kicking off a School Year of Fabulous Fridays
September 25, 2015
The outdoor classroom, located right outside the school’s building, includes two playgrounds and a nature trail. The outdoor areas provide opportunities for children to develop problem solving skills, experience dramatic play, build and create, develop fine motor and large motor skills, develop oral communication skills and vocabulary, compare and categorize, collect and analyze data, explore using the five senses and experiment with scientific phenomena.
Throughout the year, teachers also incorporate literacy, mathematical concepts, science, art, engineering, dance and music during the outdoor learning experiences.
During this first Fabulous Friday of the year, the group read the story “Road Builders” and then went outside to write building plans, make blueprints and work cooperatively to build.
“We explored physics and gravity as we built ramps for balls,” said Pre-K teacher Suzanne Hendrix. “We discovered an ant colony and built homes for the ants and worked on gross motor skills and core strength as we dug, carried, pushed and pulled.”
Junior Kindergarten teacher Wendy Dixon said that children who play outside regularly become fitter and leaner, develop a stronger immune system, have lower stress levels, have more active imaginations, play more creatively, are happier, have a greater respect for themselves and others and cultivate environmental awareness and values.
“Preschool children spend an average of 32 hours a week on some type of screen, and school-age children spend an average of 7.5 hours a day on screens,” Dixon said. “Research shows that if a child has not developed a deep sense of wonder and appreciation for nature by the time he/she is 12 years old, those neurons in the brain will disconnect. We have so much fun on Fridays, and we’re teaching our children to be future caretakers of the world at the same time.”