Four Important Reasons to Include Outdoor Play in Early Childhood Education
The concept of lifetime sports has become increasingly popular among educators and medical professionals in recent years. These activities can provide real opportunities for children and adults to enjoy healthful exercise throughout their lives. Getting the right start for lifetime fitness is of critical importance for U.S. children. Scheduling adequate outdoor playtime for students in child care facilities and preschools can make a positive difference in their overall degree of health not only in early childhood but throughout the rest of their lives. At Discovery Point, we spend time on the playground every day, weather permitting, to ensure that our students enjoy the benefits of healthy exercise in a safe and supervised environment. Here are four compelling reasons to make time for outdoor play in the preschool and child care environment.
Combating Childhood Obesity
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, better known as the CDC, more than one-third of all children and adolescents were overweight in the year 2012. In the same year, 18 percent of all children between the ages of 6 and 11 were clinically obese. Staying active and engaging in healthy exercise on a regular basis can help to prevent children from becoming overweight and can reduce the risk of a number of serious medical conditions in the future, including the following:
- Conditions associated with cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, stroke and high cholesterol
- Increased risks of many forms of cancer
Getting a healthy start can often be the key to lifelong health and fitness.
Instilling a Love of Nature
Exploring the outside world can help preschool students to develop a love of nature and an interest in basic scientific principles. These first experiences can be critical in inspiring children to learn more about biology, botany and other academic fields and can provide a solid foundation for later educational pursuits. By providing children with a chance to interact with the world around them, parents and teachers can pave the way for future success.
Opportunities for Creative Play
Free play time outdoors can allow children to interact with their peers and to engage in imaginative play in a less-restricted environment. This can allow them to practice valuable decision-making skills and to put their creativity to work on behalf of their own ideas. By inventing games, toddlers and preschool-aged children can also assert a measure of control that may not be available to the same degree in the classroom setting. This can often build confidence and self-esteem among even the youngest children.
Active play in an outdoor setting can provide a valuable outlet for excess energy. Toddlers and preschoolers are especially apt to feel pent-up and restricted in quiet classroom situations. By allowing them to run and play outside, the likelihood of disruptive behavior is reduced in childcare and preschool environments. Outdoor play opportunities are critical to allow young children to expend excess energy and to provide greater focus on learning opportunities in the classroom.
At Discovery Point, we are committed to providing the most supportive and nurturing environment for our students. We work with parents to ensure that each child receives the personalized attention he or she needs to achieve lasting success in the academic environment. Our teaching methods are based on the Creative Curriculum system and provide open-ended opportunities for learning, growth and achievement for every child we serve. By working with the dedicated educators at Discovery Point, you can ensure the best child care experience for your precious little one.