Written by ECFE Teacher Shanyn Hill
It can be tempting to hibernate in the winter, when the temperature drops and it seems like more work than it’s worth to get your child bundled up in enough snow gear to cover every inch of their skin. But research shows that it is worth the work!
Children are gaining an incredible amount of skills and knowledge that can’t be replicated indoors. In addition to increased opportunities for body/spatial awareness, full-body coordination, self-regulation, and reasonable risk-taking, the outdoors encourages scientific inquiry, which is how children were born to learn! The longer a child is outside, the more you will begin to see them explore and deepen their understanding of the world around them. Why is the big rock harder to pick up than the small rock? Why do the birds in the sky fly in the shape of the letter V? Why is the snow melted in the sun, but not in the shade?
In a short amount of time outdoors, children can gain new knowledge and experience in almost every indicator of progress for kindergarten readiness: mathematical thinking, physical development, approaches to learning and more. These opportunities for children to explore the dynamic natural world should continue to be prevalent throughout the winter months, or as often as you can safely do so, in order to keep children actively engaged in their own learning!
Children cannot bounce off the walls if we take away the walls. Erin Kenny