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B101 Early Childhood Education

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B101 Early Childhood Education

0 Download7 Pages / 1,617 Words

Course Code: B101
University: St Clair College

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Country: Canada

Outdoor Play
For this assignment, students will write a research paper on a topic in the Early Learning field.

Outdoor environment are the places where the children gets the scope to play and flourish. Such areas are designed in ways where the children can successfully express themselves and make a mess, jump, ride, hide, shout, whistle and explore their world (Van Hoom et al., 2014). This assignment will show how outdoor play can ensure best development of the budding minds and their physical health and thereby help them to become potential members of the future nation.
There are two important reasons that show why outdoor plays are considered important for the development and growth of children. Firstly, experts are of the opinion that most of the developmental activities that children need to develop such as exploring fine as well as gross motor developments, risk taking ability, absorption of huge amount of knowledge and many others can only be learned by the children properly when they participate in outdoor play (McClinics & Petty, 2015). Secondly, more and more children in the present generation are getting hooked to excessive use of TV and computer games, more indoor activities and many others that affect their physical health increasing their vulnerabilities towards obesity and make them get lesser scope for cognitive an social development. Therefore, outdoor games with other friends during early childhood learning are considered effective ways of development of children.
Outdoor plays give children the scope to participate in physical exercises. Experts are of the opinion that children need to develop both small motor skills and large motor skills and even cardiovascular endurance. Studies have often discussed about the motor development and movement skills acquisition of the young children who participate in different outdoor games and activities (Wood, 2014). Extensive physical activities also help in mitigating the growing issues of obesity in the nation and hence outdoor plays and activities should be integrated as an important curriculum activity in every preschool.
Outdoor plays also provide children the scope to enjoy to their fullest as this aspect characterizes childhood. Lord Nuffield had opined that the best preparation of adulthood can be laid on the foundation of a full and enjoyable childhood that include scopes of good outdoor plays. Children need to be given the opportunities for exploring, experimenting, reconfiguring, manipulating, influencing expanding, changing, marveling, practicing, pushing their limits, singing, yelling and many others (Harms et al., 2014).  Often some of the best memories that adults often remember are their childhood outdoor activities as these are the times that every children enjoy to their fullest and takes up most of the memories engraved in brain.
Outdoor play also enables children in learning huge amount of information about the world. Gaining practical information about how ice feels, whether sticks can stand up in sand, how plants grow, how mud feel, how tricycles are used, how overhand of budding create cool shade from the sun, how butterflies learn to fly and many others. It is arguable that children might learn all these activities from many others sources and methods but learning it as the part of the outdoor plays are proven to be more effective (Myers et al., 2015). Experts have accepted that outdoor play not only helps the children to earn different basic and fundamental information about the working procedures of the world, outdoor plays make children more likely to remember what they have learned. This is mainly because it was concrete and personally meaningful for the children as they have lived the moments and experienced them full-heartedly (Ernst et al., 2014).
An important theory that can be used in the context of this discussion is the Surplus-energy theory. This theory believes that plays help people in releasing their “pent-up-energies” that mainly collect over time. One of the qualitative studies had interviewed early year educators. The participants are of the opinion that after intense academic classes, children often need to be released in the outdoor. They mainly believe that outdoor play somewhat helps children to “recharge the batteries” that is to reinvigorate themselves by engaging them in very different activities from their experiences in the classroom (Waller et al., 2017). This recreation theory of the play mainly enables the children for getting ready to return to the important work for academic learning. This theories visualize the outdoor plays as essential components for academic learning and not as an important activity in its own rights.
The teachers can initiate five important forms of outdoor plays for the cognitive, social as well as physical development of children. The first type is the physical play. Experts are of the opinion that although it is important for encouraging specific motor skills like that of gross and fine motor skill development, it also helps in supporting the development of the brain as well as the nerve functions and growth. Therefore, crawling, running as well as climbing, swinging on swings is considered to be highly critical activities for the young children (Trembley et al., 2015). Therefore, teachers should encourage physical play where children should climb equipment and swings, participate in tricycle paths and enjoy on the large areas of grass and hills where they would be able to run, lie, crawl, roll and many others.
The next is the constructive play. Researches that had been conducted continuously show the favorite kind of play for the preschoolers is the constructive play they get the ability to control the plays. Such form of constructive plays can be encouraged by utilization of the sand and water play. It also provides space for art, blocks and woodwork along with wheeled toys and lots of loose objects throughout the playgrounds. This form of constructive plays can successfully occur in the sandboxes like in the sand and water areas as well as on the flat surfaces and even on grasses (Brussoni et al, 2015). This increases the creativity within the children and helps them to learn about new ways of performing things and visualizing the world in new ways.
Another form of play is the social play. Children need many opportunities in the outside environment for developing basic social skills as well as different social competencies. Different of actions like pushing each other on the swings, waiting for cues to get the turns, pulling of the wagons carrying another child, playing with other children in the sand and many others – help in enhancing social skills and interactions of the children with each other (Gehris et al., 2015). Different projects such as the gardening, observation of the different weather in separate science areas or having a picnic all result in engagement of more than one child and hence are called social activities.
Another type of play is the socio-dramatic play. Experts are of the opinion that a good playground should be having playhouses as well as forts and other structures, which the children can change, reconfigure, adapt, and impose their meaning on and use for their expansion of the imagination (Tammelin et al, 2014). These types of structures are helpful in encouraging the socio-dramatic play. Moreover, they also remain in an ideal place for the playground in reflection for their cultures of the children who utilize them.
From the above discussion, it becomes clear that outdoor play is an important component of the early childhood learning. They help in ensuing physical fitness and development. They also help children to enjoy their childhood to the fullest and learn about any important aspects of the nature that they were unaware. The surplus-energy theory is of the opinion that children should be allowed to enjoy freely in the environment as it helps in refilling their energy after a lengthy academic sessions helping them to feel rejuvenated. Physical play, constructive play, dramatic play as well as the socio-dramatic plays are the different types of outdoor plays that educators may focus on for early childhood leaning.
Brussoni, M., Gibbons, R., Gray, C., Ishikawa, T., Sandseter, E., Bienenstock, A., … & Pickett, W. (2015). What is the relationship between risky outdoor play and health in children? A systematic review. International journal of environmental research and public health, 12(6), 6423-6454.
Ernst, J. (2014). Early childhood educators’ use of natural outdoor settings as learning environments: an exploratory study of beliefs, practices, and barriers. Environmental Education Research, 20(6), 735-752.
Gehris, J. S., Gooze, R. A., & Whitaker, R. C. (2015). Teachers’ perceptions about children’s movement and learning in early childhood education programmes. Child: care, health and development, 41(1), 122-131.
Harms, T., Clifford, R. M., & Cryer, D. (2014). Early childhood environment rating scale. Teachers College Press.
McClintic, S., & Petty, K. (2015). Exploring early childhood teachers’ beliefs and practices about preschool outdoor play: A qualitative study. Journal of early childhood teacher education, 36(1), 24-43.
Myers, J., Gibbons, K., Arnup, S., Volders, E., & Naughton, G. (2015). Early childhood nutrition, active outdoor play and sources of information for families living in highly socially disadvantaged locations. Journal of paediatrics and child health, 51(3), 287-293.
Tammelin, R., Yang, X., Leskinen, E., Kankaanpaa, A., Hirvensalo, M., Tammelin, T., & Raitakari, O. T. (2014). Tracking of physical activity from early childhood through youth into adulthood. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc, 46, 955-962.
Tremblay, M., Gray, C., Babcock, S., Barnes, J., Bradstreet, C., Carr, D., … & Herrington, S. (2015). Position statement on active outdoor play. International journal of environmental research and public health, 12(6), 6475-6505.
Van Hoorn, J. L., Monighan-Nourot, P., Scales, B., & Alward, K. R. (2014). Play at the center of the curriculum. Pearson.
Waller, T., Ärlemalm-Hagsér, E., Sandseter, E. B. H., Lee-Hammond, L., Lekies, K., & Wyver, S. (Eds.). (2017). The SAGE handbook of outdoor play and learning. Sage.
Wood, E. A. (2014). Free choice and free play in early childhood education: Troubling the discourse. International Journal of Early Years Education, 22(1), 4-18.

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