I have been a big fan of outdoor classrooms and playscapes for a long time. I treasure Rusty Keeler‘s Natural Playscapes. I have gazed longingly at some of the musical features built by Alex at Child’s Play Music. I have dreamed about what could be accomplished in an outdoor setting. I am sure most administrators have done this.
The tide is turning away from colorful, pre-made jungle gyms and toward more natural outdoor environments. I believe that both have their place in children’s outdoor play – no one can deny the natural urges children have to climb on things or the physical and psychological benefits that are derived from doing so. However, the learning that is involved when one has a natural outdoor environment to play in is unmistakable as well. There are many centers that also boast loose parts for children to work with on the playground that children can use in whatever creative ways that they want.
I came across an article today that showed the difference between an outdoor learning environment and the old blacktop playgrounds from years ago that are still hanging around. I hope that you enjoy the article as much as I did: