From the Director: The Importance of Outdoor Play at TCS
By Sarah O’Dell, Executive Director
Did you know that children at TCS get 40% of their day blocked off to spend outside? Each full day class spends an average of 3 hours outside! Statistically speaking, that is a phenomenal amount of time to spend outdoors.
The Children’s School has always placed a high value on plenty of time outdoors. We even have special words for it! Have you ever noticed that we never say “recess”? We always say outside time and inside time. Outside time is not a recess from school or learning, it is equally important to every part of our day.
At The Children’s School, our time outside serves many functions.
It is an opportunity to be as LOUD and BIG as you can. An opportunity to take risks. It is a chance to play with abandon. Outside time at TCS involves bike riding, tree climbing, and chasing games. Sometimes it involves sledding and sometimes there is a sprinkler to cool off in.
It isn’t only big play.
Building a cozy nook with hollow blocks, creating art installations with acorns and crab apples, selling mud pies, and engineering complicated feats of hydrology with sand also occur every day.
Each of these experiences supports our goals for children at TCS- individuality, competency, creativity and positive social relationships- and fuels a child’s natural inclination to be inquisitive and self-directed.
When TCS moved to this site over 35 years ago, we had a blank slate to create a play yard from. Founding families built the sandstone wall that still stands today; I wonder if they knew that their grandchildren would climb up it one day? Our play yards have stood the test of time and you will see today, what the founding families saw then: deep involvement in a natural setting.
However, with 40 years of change, growth, construction, and thousands of children, our play yards are looking tired. In the coming month TCS’s Board of Directors and I will embark on a fundraising campaign to revamp our play yards. In late December, you will see a letter from us in the mail and an unveiling of our exciting plans! As the new year begins, you can expect to hear from your fellow parents about ways to help. Don’t worry- we won’t be bugging you too much!