According to NAEYC, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, nature-based programs are keenly attuned to the positive effects of outdoor learning such as improved physical strength, rich language, development, direct experiences with science content, and opportunities for construction and problem-solving with natural materials. But just as profound is children’s emotional development. Children develop self-awareness and a sense of belonging by playing and learning outdoors. They also develop an attitude of empathy through unstructured outdoor play, especially when educators set a mindful tone. Empathy reveals a powerful path for children to develop respect for the diversity and complexities within our communities.
Bemis Farms is proud to offer one of the state’s largest outdoor play areas. Each age group has their own playground. We also have a flower/fairy garden, vegetable/fruit gardens, butterfly (and sometimes dinosaur) garden and nature trails for the children to explore and enjoy. This abundance of outdoor space encourages play to help build their skills and healthy, active habits.
Outside time presents many opportunities for active participatory learning, not only in physical growth, but in other domains of development as well. Spending time outside provides children with opportunities to enjoy physical, noisy, and vigorous play. Being outdoors lets children and adults alike use all their senses to appreciate nature. Children’s pretend play ranges over a wider area than in the classroom. Children can use different kinds of materials – for example: trees, flowerbeds, climbers, and so much more. Outside play encourages healthy risk taking, supports creativity, and problem-solving skills.