ALBUQUERQUE, NM – As Congress considers making significant investments in the nation’s child care system, advocates for children have argued that now is the time to make high-quality outdoor learning based About Nature available to all New Mexico kids, regardless of zip code. .
Sarah Konradi, director of the Early Childhood Health Outdoors (ECHO) program for the National Wildlife Federation, said children need regular access to spaces where they can play, run and climb.
“We also want them to be able to explore, imagine, pretend, create,” Konradi said. “And so it can be like a little digging area in the shade of a tree, where they can explore for worms and insects.”
ECHO released new recommendations, which call for expanding investments in playgrounds to include outdoor extensions of the classroom, areas where children create rules for new games, learn to work together to build boats hackers and other activities that help stimulate cognitive and social learning. skills in a natural environment.
Konradi pointed out that childcare providers also see the benefits of outdoor learning environments. Instead of overseeing recess on a traditional playground, educators can interact with children as they explore winding paths, plant pollinator gardens, and create “mud kitchens.”
Konradi noted that building outdoor learning spaces doesn’t necessarily require a lot of money or effort.
“The changes we advocate can be hugely profitable,” Konradi said. “They can be done in a very gradual way. It doesn’t have to be an extreme transformation of the playing field to be successful.”
When children spend part of their day in a natural setting, Konradi added that it is also possible to take a break and take a deep breath.
“And spaces where children can just observe, contemplate,” Konradi remarked. “And with the nature around us, we know that as adults, going out in these kinds of environments is very restorative, and it can be for children too.”
receive more stories like this by email