Outdoor Learning Environment
The Learning Center’s Outdoor Learning Program provides young children with the textures, smells, beauty and wonder of nature while contributing to a child’s overall physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. Our outdoor environment invites children to use imagination and creativity as they dig in our pergola-covered sandboxes, climb and crawl on wooden structures, swing on tire swings, balance on log stumps, make pies in the mud kitchen, plant or paint in the garden, read in our shaded areas, discover bugs, build with recycled and natural materials and learn about protecting the environment. Multi-disciplinary efforts to connect children with nature yield dramatic results. Connections with nature support children’s development through: observation skills, visual spatial skills, science skills, math and literacy skills, social skills and art skills. Outdoor environments offer greater opportunities for unfettered physical movement, thus decreasing the likelihood of obesity. Spending time in nature aids in stress reduction, and in the treatment of depression and ADHD. As a result of playing in natural outdoor environments, children display more concentration and self-discipline, score higher on tests and exhibit less aggressive behavior. Encouraging children to enjoy nature, to understand it and value it, contributes to their health and well-being and gives them a sense of discovery important to a successful education.