The Benefits Of An Outdoor Education
While it may seem like common sense, an outdoor education can be hard to come by in a city environment. Kids are so focused on their screens these days that parents may think it difficult to take the children down to the park and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine.
There are many benefits to spending time outdoors as a child: it helps build confidence, encourages exploration and can help with socialisation. While there are some risks to playing outdoors, these are minimal. We encourage you to invest in an outdoor education program for your children. We have put together the following list to help you build a sense of appreciation for outdoor play in your children.
Studies into early childhood education have demonstrated that children often feel a sense of freedom when they’re free to frolic in outdoor spaces. They feel that they’re able to express themselves with greater ease. Children during studies were more engaged with the learning process and were more positive about learning the aspects of the curriculum raised in an outdoor environment. Teachers too, tend to benefit from an outdoor learning environment.
The cognitive benefits of participating in outdoor learning opportunities are rife. Children also experience significant health benefits when they spend time outdoors. Consuming sunshine in moderation delivers high volumes of vitamin D to the body which is needed for good mental health, solid bones and strong muscles. The body needs vitamin D to convert calcium, so making sure your children spend plenty of time outdoors is crucial to making sure their bones and teeth stay healthy.
Furthermore, fitness, strength and flexibility can all be improved by making sure children can access sports equipment and other playground facilities outdoors. Running, jumping, exploring and kicking a ball around can benefit a child’s physical health and ensure they’re well equipped for compulsory outdoor challenges they face in high school.
Playing outdoors during early childhood education builds community too. Children may segment themselves into clusters and work together to solve problems and play games. In contrast, by placing children into unfamiliar groups we develop their socialisation skills.
Teamwork is an important skill and forces children to unify for a common purpose. Children begin to understand that they’re not alone in the world and can develop supportive networks that help them to face challenges and complete tasks.
Finally, outdoor education raises expectations of student behaviour. Because they’re operating independently outside of classroom walls, they’re forced to learn responsibility and autonomy.
Safety concerns outside force children to consider alternative behaviours that they might not think of indoors. They are forced to consider which path may lead to danger and which is perfectly safe. All of this builds good decision making skills which can benefit a child as they grow older.
At WillowBee Early Learning Centre, we facilitate outdoor learning experiences as often as possible. We have recently upgraded our outdoor setting with new soft fall rubber surfacing and synthetic grass. This new environment is a great place for kids to enjoy some sunshine, learn and play, and we make sure all of our kids spend some quality time outdoors every day. We regularly visit Warrane Reserve just 100 metres from our centre. This wide open space has landscaped and ‘wild’ areas for our children to roam and explore. We notice a change in demeanour in our children when playing outdoors, including confidence, sharing, co-operation and controlled risk taking – all of which are beneficial to growth and learning.
If you’re looking to enrol your child in an early learning centre that facilitates an outdoor education, then WillowBee is the centre for you. Contact us today by calling (02) 9417 5701 to ask any questions about enrolment or to schedule a visit to the centre. Our friendly staff are ready to help you in any way they can, so don’t delay, call us at WillowBee Early Learning centre today. We’re open for business from 7:30am to 6:30pm Monday to Friday and eagerly await your call.