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Academics thru Nature

1000 Hours Outside

Posted by: Rhonda July 16, 2019

“We all know kids need nature time but emerging research is clear that children need to experience hours of outside free play every day. We are far from where we need to be,” writes Ginny Yurich, a homeschooling mom from Michigan who launched the 1000 Hours Outside movement.

How many hours do your kids spend outdoors in a year? While no one really needs one more thing to track, nature time for children is so extremely valuable for development that we cannot just leave it to chance.

The benefits of outdoor time go far beyond health. Spending time outside helps our children develop into enthusiastic academic learners. Read more.

Teachers Role

Facilitating Learning in the Block Area

Posted by: Rhonda July 9, 2019

Unit Blocks are one of the most powerful learning tools available for young children. However, their full potential in a classroom is only realized with the support and interest of the teacher.

“It is very important for teachers in the beginning of the school year to create a culture around block building,” states Nancy McKeever of Bank Street College of Education, “and that happens before the children even come into the classroom.”

What does this look like in practice? This short video serves as a great staff development tool to deepen engagement and learning in your block area. Watch now:  The Role of a Teacher in Block Play

Painting with water

Painting with Water

Posted by: Rhonda July 2, 2019

Here’s a great outdoor activity to try on a hot summer day. Purely a “process-driven” art experience, there is no “product” except happy (and wettish) children! Simply provide small buckets of water and an assortment of paint brushes and tell the kids to “paint the playground.”

After giving a face-lift to an old park bench, these three-year-olds went on to paint the stairs, the outdoor stage flooring, as well as various sticks and stones. This faded wooden fence proved to be the best canvas and soon the whole class was busy painting a mural. By the time the water had dried and all evidence of their work vanished, the children were long gone, busy with their buckets of “paint” on the other side of the yard.

Mud Kitchen

Mud Kitchen in Action

Posted by: Rhonda June 25, 2019

Summer—time to take your cooking outdoors!  Dirt and water make the perfect recipe for hours of creative play. Add some old kitchen utensils and natural loose parts and there’s no end to the collaborative concoctions that will be produced. 

With International Mud Day approaching (June 29, 2019), watch these children go at it in the Froebel School in East Sussex, UK. View video.

Mud Masters2

Encouraging Mud Play:

Posted by: Rhonda June 18, 2019

How to get everyone on board

Children plunge into messy play with great enthusiasm and no hesitation about getting dirty. The adults in their lives, however, may need a little more encouragement to understand the value of playing in and with mud.

Launching a mud area in your play space requires careful planning and communication with staff and families. This article offers advice on how to get over those hurdles. Then, let the fun begin! Read more.