With the enormous amount of snow this year, the snow plow piles around the school are perfect for climbing up, sliding down, building forts, and...digging giant holes!
Watching and listening to the students figure out how to get themselves and their friends out of these holes was one of the most interesting things I’ve seen in the last fourteen months of teaching Outdoor Kindergarten, and I came to a more concrete understanding of how the outdoor part of kindergarten, specifically, fosters the persistence, creativity, sophisticated communication, empathy and joy I’ve intuitively known it does since beginning this program.
The out of doors just seems to offer up so many more problems – and more authentically interesting and complex problems – than those found (or simulated, really, by a teacher) indoors. These problems motivate children to want to keep working to find a solution – to keep playing! – to use more skills – physical, social, practical – and in a more sophisticated, interrelated way…it was so exciting to watch them, and so fun!