For a variety of reasons, children do not spend as much time outside as they once did. Outdoor free play has been replaced with screen time and organized activities, and parents sometimes feel nervous about allowing their child to play outside on their own, or just in the company of their peers. This trend has led to a rise in childhood obesity, cases of ADHD, and underdeveloped social emotional skills, just to name a few.
At Fairlington, we work to reverse this trend by frequently spending our full day outside. We are lucky to have a large outdoor space, including a forest that allows the children to connect with nature. The most obvious benefits of outdoor play include active play and exercise and exposure to fresh air and sunshine (vitamin D.) There are many other not-so-obvious benefits as well, such as strengthening executive function skills, building creativity, growing social emotional skills, and learning to take risks. The National Wildlife Federation released a comprehensive report and guidelines on the importance of outdoor play and what we can do to support it. Not to mention, we are proud to have a National Wildlife Federation Schoolyard Habitat playground!
We spend the full morning outside in all types of weather, including winter weather. Playing outside is vitally important for a child’s development, and playing in cold weather does no harm as long as the child has the appropriate clothing. In fact, it can actually provide more benefits than warmer weather!
We use our HighScope Curriculum schedule outside, just as we do inside. The children participate in Circle Time, Small Group, Planning/Work Time/Recall, as well as Snack, Music and Story Time. The end of the morning is saved for unstructured play with all of the classes at Fairlington.
We are passionate about outdoor education and all the benefits it provides our children. Come see how we play outside!