- For Parents
- For Educators
- For Community
- Contact Us
Why An Outdoor Classroom?
The Silent Emergency
Many eyes and dollars are currently focused on increasing time spent in classrooms to intensify academic learning for young children. Meanwhile, a silent emergency grows.
- an epidemic of childhood obesity and type II diabetes
- the worsening of eating habits of children
- a thirty-year trend of labeling school children and increasingly placing them on drugs
- the increasing dominance of electronic media in children’s lives
- the dramatic reduction of Physical Education and recess
- a 90% reduction in safe space to play around children’s homes over a 20-year period
- increasing numbers of child care center play yards that fail to meet children’s needs
- emergence of the first generation of children growing up disconnected from nature
The Challenge for Family Child Care and Centers of Early Care and Education
Programs serving children ages 0 – 5 years are on the front line in addressing this growing silent emergency. For many children, the outdoor environments of such programs provide their only safe outdoor play space, and their best opportunity both for exercise and learning about nature. Unfortunately, play yards are often poorly designed and equipped to adequetly provide for the rich activities children so desperately need. Family child care and centers may lack strong outdoor programs, in part, because teachers and caregivers are not trained for such activities. It is time to turn the tide.
Turning the Tide
In contrast to elementary schools, more flexible early childhood centers and family child care programs, with their more specialized play yards, have a greater opportunity to address the silent emergency. To do so, they generally require three things:
- strengthened outdoor environments
- additional teacher training
- assistance with outdoor classroom implementation
The Role of the Outdoor Classroom Project
The Outdoor Classroom Project provides support for family child care and centers interested in further developing their outdoor program and environment by serving as a center for Outdoor Classroom activities, conducting research, developing materials, providing model sites for observation, conducting educational conferences and providing consulting and training programs at their sites.
The San Luis Obispo Outdoor Classroom Project Demonstration Sites
If you are interested in learning more about the Outdoor Classroom Project please contact us at SLOCoCCPC. To visit an Outdoor Classroom in action please contact one of our San Luis Obispo Outdoor Classroom Demonstration sites:
Orfalea ASI Cal Poly Children’s Center – 805- 756-1267
Cuesta Children’s Center SLO – 805-546-3285
Cuesta Children’s Center North County – 805-591-6292
United Methodist Children’s Center San Luis Obispo – 805-459-0332