Why being outdoors is important for kids.

Part of every day at Lextended day is going outdoors, except in more extreme weather conditions.  We find the children are happier when we do and most have a real drive to be outside.  This is also a great opportunity for unstructured, imaginative play, gross motor skills, and opportunity for social and emotional development.    

Most research I see is in support of increased outdoor time.   This article shares a number of theories. 

More on potential effects on asthma an ADHD here

The Nurtured Heart Approach

We were fortunate to have Sam Healy give an all staff training on using the Nurtured Heart approach.  He is a long time advocate for children and has worked with many leaders in the after school arena like the Boys and Girls Clubs and City Year.

The three main stands of the approach are: 

1. Refuse to give big reactions to broken rules or problems.

2. Relentlessly "energize" positive behaviors and qualities.

3. Be clear and firm about rules and consequences. 

See more from Sam here and a great TED talk here.


Boston Children's Museum

One of my favorite places to take young and elementary school children is the Boston Children's Museum.  Lextended Day takes field trips there as well.  They are huge proponents of the "power of play.  My favorite video that the Children's Museum produced is from a MIT scientist who describes the paralells between play and the scientific method.

Video here





A Conversation with the author of Taking Back Childhood

Are children being exposed to screens too early? - a conversation with Taking Back Childhood by Nancy Carlsson-Paige and mother of artist Matt Damon. 

I like what she says about what children should be doing instead....

"The fact that they are spending more time looking at screens instead of engaged in robust outdoor play, interacting with other kids, spontaneous negotiating and figuring out problems in the real world with other kids, means they are not learning some of the vital lessons that came naturally to children in the past. Screen time is rapidly changing what children learn and don't learn."

Full blog post from Education Week here


Forest Kindergartens

Forest Kindergartens have become popular in Europe and I have recently heard of one in New Hampshire and one in New York State.  A new documentary examines the value of the outdoors and children's development. 

Could we ever do this here?

Slate Magazine describes the trend here.