Program Feature: Branching Out


Branch Out

Outdoor play is just as important to a child’s development as learning to read and write! Join us in learning how to prepare simple and effective, yet intentional outdoor activities for young children ages two through five. The presenters will demonstrate the important role teachers and parents play in constructing an outdoor learning environment that encourages creative play and discovery while offering children a connection to the outdoors and a better understanding of themselves and the natural world around them.

Date: Tuesday, April 5

Choose between two sessions: 10 a.m. to noon or 4-6 p.m.

Have you ever wondered about the choices, experiences and development going on in young children during their outdoor play? There has never been a more important time for parents and educators to understand the benefits of outdoor play and to make it a priority for the children in their lives. It is one of the best things that we can do for a child’s health, education and well-being. Research shows that a child’s outdoor play helps reduce stress, stress from having to achieve or “needing to learn,” which seems to be a growing movement in our society.

Children do not have a lot of control in their young lives, outdoor play can be a place where adults do not interfere and children can relax and feel powerful. Through unstructured play, children are able to express and work out emotional aspects of everyday experiences. Children allowed to play freely outside develop social skills and have the opportunities to see life through another person’s point of view. They learn to cooperate, practice sharing and began to develop problem solving skills.

Research shows young children learn best through their senses and hands-on activities. Outdoor play opportunities provide these experiences. Children have the benefit of using their senses, which function at a great level in outdoor play as observed while a child creates with sand, mud, in gardens or on the swings.

Do you remember your own childhood outside play experiences? The average American child in today’s society spends as few as 30 minutes in unstructured outdoor play each day, and more than seven hours each day in front of an electronic screen. Please join us in our workshop “Branching Out: Creating an Outdoor Learning Environment Using a Child’s Perspective” as we examine how children’s play has changed and how we can help children have a better understanding of themselves, others and connect to their natural world. Two workshop times will be offered at SLC’s IBC Bank offices on Tuesday, April 5 from 10 a.m. to noon or 4 to 6 p.m.  Learn more and register on our website:


Rivkin, M.S. 1995. The Great Outdoors: Restoring Children’s Right to Play Outside. Washington, DC: NAEYC

Rogers, C.S. and Sawyers, J.K. 1988. Play in the Lives of Children. Washington, DC. NAEYC

Guest Authored by Donna Wheeler, Director and Teacher, Poe Cooperative Nursery School

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