ERIC Number: ED448013
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Outdoor Experiences for Young Children. ERIC Digest.
Rivkin, Mary S.
This digest examines the value of outdoor experience for young children, reasons for its decline, ways to enhance school play spaces, and aspects of developmentally appropriate outdoor environments. Young children appear to benefit from being outdoors and especially need the broad experiential base provided by being outdoors. The richness and novelty of the outdoors stimulates brain development and function. The knowledge gained outdoors provides a foundation for literacy and science learning and can help children to learn to care for the environment. Nevertheless, children now spend most of their time indoors. Unsupervised outdoor play is rare for preschoolers and declining for primary-age children due to various adult fears about safety; the lack of suitable places to play, especially in urban areas; and such indoor attractions as television and computers. Improvements to school yard design and maintenance can allow the use of the outdoor environment to enhance curriculum, demonstrate the value of stewardship to young children, offer opportunities for student projects, create habitats for birds and other creatures, and increase the use of school grounds by teachers and students. Suggestions are offered for designing developmentally appropriate outdoor play spaces for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and primary children. (Contains 24 references.) (SV)
Descriptors: Child Development, Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Early Childhood Education, Experiential Learning, Facility Requirements, Outdoor Activities, Play, Playgrounds, Primary Education, Young Children
ERIC/CRESS, P.O. Box 1348, Charleston, WV 25325-1348; Tel: 800-624-9120 (Toll Free). Full text at Web site: http://www.ael.org/eric/digests/edorc007.htm.
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools, Charleston, WV.