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November/December 2010
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/wonder-newsletter/5019695/

Our path to an outdoor classroom by Sarah Bishop, Marlys Vollegraph, and Deb Curtis

We were thrilled to see Peter all grown up. He was an articulate, imaginative child when he attended our school during his preschool years. He was back for a visit and we were eager to ask him about his best memories of the school. He quickly replied, “I can’t wait to see the play yard.” As we entered the yard he cried out; “Where’s the tall grass?” We were shocked at his response. With a limited budget, we worked hard to round up the resources to develop the grassy area into a bike path. We protested his disappointment, suggesting that the bike path was a great addition to the playground. He would have none of this point of view, remembering his adventures hiding among the tall grass.

The staff of our school has always had mixed feelings about this one-acre yard. We strongly believe that children deserve a childhood filled with experiences in the natural world. Yet, supervision and maintenance is difficult, families often have worries about their young children negotiating our big space, and as educators we want to provide more focused learning in this environment. Our ...

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