Outdoor play is part of the curriculum in Waldorf Schools. Waldorf students often spend a large part of the day outdoors as it is significant for their development.
Children who are out into nature have the opportunity to explore and play with natural toys. These ‘toys’ could be sticks, rocks, pine cones, seashells, etc. Children have the opportunity to observe and create while playing with a different kind of material. Another advantage of playing outside is, of course, breathing the fresh air.
Waldorf teachers in kindergarten and also in primary school offer both indoor and outdoor free playtime. Teachers are not organizing or leading the child’s play activity. Children are free to play and create their stories and their toys.
Building shelters, boats, or using fallen branches from the tree’s children are using their muscles. Children work hard and with determination to build a house. Also, they collaborate with their classmates; if they want to move a big tree trunk, for example, skills such as communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and flexibility of thinking are all called on and developed.
Another benefit of outdoor play is that it builds their “will forces” and the ability to face the challenge. That skill will be useful for the rest of their lives.
Physical and Mental Health
Breathing fresh air from a forest or a beach is beneficial in many ways. The Waldorf teachers can tell you that after a day in a forest or beach the children are calmer and less aggressive. According to a study done by the University of Minnesota, being in nature reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings.
Being in nature also reduced blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. It may even reduce mortality, according to scientists Stamatakis and Mitchell.
Being in a forest provides the opportunity to observe things and pay attention. Children can notice small things such as how many legs an ant or a spider has. Those small discoveries are valuable for them and memorable. That is how they learn the world.
Children can observe how the weather change or how nature changes throughout a year. They can see that some trees do not have leaves during winter. Also, they can notice the changes of the light depending on the time of the day. Those small discoveries such as finding a spider web between the leaves or finding a tiny insect develop their observation skills. Observation is another way of learning.
Those are some benefits of outdoor play. If you need more information about Waldorf School of Limassol please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org