Outdoor Learning Center
Outdoor play ground isn’t just fun — it is vital to children’s health and well-being (JEFFREY GOLDSTEIN)
Since 20 May 2019 , SVP officially launch our Outdoor Learning Centre ( OLC) – the most comprehensive outdoor facility in Indonesia. School have worked extremely hard to design a leading 21st century facility that will provide the ECE and Primary students in particular with the opportunities many schools around the world can only dream of, my only regret is that my own children did not have an opportunity to experience this type of education. We are super excited to launch the centre and the SVP parents can be reassured their children will have an unique experience no other school in Indonesia can offer
What are the benefits of Play on Child Development in Outdoor Playgound Center ( OLC)?
The gurgling of the small river flowing down the rocks and added to the cool breeze on the OLC playground area, coupled with the lively joyful laughter of the SVP students who are playing and studying in this place … truly something amazing…..
The Outdoor play in natural settings are linked with the holistic development of children: physical, social/emotional, cognitive, and spiritual. Play is vital to the holistic physical and mental health development of children
Play behaviours connect to the development of children: functional play leads to physical development; social and dramatic play are linked to the social/emotional development
Playgrounds are great places to develop physical gross motor skills: climbing, sliding, swinging, running, crawling, and balancing.
According to Fjortoft, the children who used the “forest as a playscape performed better in motor skills than o the traditional playground” In the woodlands setting, the natural playscape provided children with an increased ability to balance and demonstrate their coordination
Social-emotional development is the building of positive relationships, expression of emotions, and self-regulation. Critical elements in social-emotional development include a sense of belonging, inclusiveness, risk taking, and being passionate .
In order to provide an environment that promotes the development of the child’s social emotional domain we must focus on areas in which group play or social interactions can occur.
Through play children learn to share, cooperate, respect others ideas, and express their own ideas, feelings and needs .
Research has found that these aspects of social-emotional development in children are best supported using materials and activities that are open-ended, varied, and unstructured . If the environment is“fun, peaceful and welcoming, and children are feeling emotionally safe, their interest in play and physical activity will undoubtedly increase”
Cognitive development is the child’s knowledge of his/her world in relation to language, numbers, problem solving, spatial relationships, and critical thinking through their investigation and exploration of objects and of their environment. Children learn through play while they “discover, explore and develop an understanding of the environment around them”
We must provide and encourage active play of our children so that they can move physically, interact socially, and develop cognitive skills of problem solving, and creativity. Providing open-ended materials to young children allows them to stimulate their imaginations to explore and be inventive, and become flexible thinkers and better playmates.
The outdoor environment “should engage children’s curiosity, stimulate their imaginations, invite exploration, and support their developing competencies…sand, water, soil, and plants provide settings for open-ended play that emphasizes unstructured creative exploration with diverse materials”
Using areas such as gardens, forests, sandpits, and construction areas can encourage science, math, social studies, art, and language learning. Observing the insects, birds, or plants can provide exploratory learning experiences.
Spiritual development links closely with physical, cognitive and social-emotional development. “The spiritual aspect of the environment reveals the wonder and beauty of the natural world…Children’s curiosity and desire to appreciate and understand their world stimulate ongoing investigations of naturally occurring phenomena.”
In the outdoors, these natural phenomena of plants, clouds, sand, shadows, or puddles bring awareness of their environment and the need to protect and care for these living environments. If a child was to grow plants or care for animals outdoors, they learn to be responsible and respectful of living things .
Educators can create learning opportunities that promote care for the environment and nature and hopefully these children will become advocates for the care and protection of our world.
“Carefully planned environments can provoke children’s appreciation of the beauty of their natural world, foster their curiosity about their surroundings and ignite their imaginations”
These children would learn to respect, interact, and care for their environments by being immersed in imaginative play areas that included plants, trees, logs, and other naturally occurring elements.
Children can be physically active while learning, socializing, cooperating, communicating, exploring and interacting with natural elements in the playscape
Taken from : Shelley Ethier B.Ed., University of Victoria