Due to the warmer weather, we spent a solid hour after lunch yesterday, which is our gym time, outside on the intermediate playground. I know this is the 'shoulder season' when the weather is just right and before it is toooooo hot to spend long hours playing outside and I intend for Team Awesome to take advantage of it. And the advantages of the children challenging themselves and overcoming fear, climbing, running, jumping, crawling, pulling, sliding, making up games, laughing, engaging in self-directed play, cooperating, and generally managing themselves with very little adult intervention are huge. We were reluctant to go back into the classroom we were having so much fun.
And while our school playgrounds are adequate and Team Awesome is enjoying them, they are also sterile play environments that lack much challenge past kindergarten and so prevent children from expanding their learning and stretching their abilities. Wouldn't a playground with 'loose parts' such as logs and tires that kids could move around and manipulate, to create their own makeshift structures and explore and change as their games evolve be great? It would raise their play, as well as their self-confidence and courage, to a new level. And then they would never want to come back inside.