My neighbor used to tell me that she loved seeing my son outside playing in the rain with his elephant umbrella and bare feet during a spring or summer shower. He could spend hours jumping from puddle to puddle and I was happy to oblige! But what is usually seen primarily as kids having fun and getting messy, is actually fundamentally important for children (of all ages!) to experience and is a great learning tool.
According to Mr. Rajovic of the Novak Djokovic Foundation, “Their desire to do so is driven by their natural instinct to explore and discover using senses and motor actions. Thus they build a storehouse of knowledge about the physical world. Through this and similar outdoor activities children master essential life skills such as problem-solving, ability to focus and respond to changing contexts, as well as decision-making. In other words, exposure to natural settings enhances their cognitive development.” Continue reading here: https://novakdjokovicfoundation.org/splashing-mud-puddles-beneficial-children/
This fall, we are launching the Whole Child Program and I am really thrilled with how it is coming together. It has been the culmination of thoughts and ideas I have had over my many years of teaching and observing children. I feel that it is a much needed program especially now that students have had to get used to a “new normal” way of living.
Working with a network of collaborators and educators, we have created an exciting program that combines health, wellness, movement, mindfulness, executive functioning, social psychology, cooking and nutrition to give students a hands-on, super cool alternative to traditional health classes – while offering so much more! The goal of this program is to offer students an extensive toolbox to learn valuable life skills that are needed to be successful healthy adults.
I have been researching what mainstream education calls the Whole Child program and it’s pretty solid.
According to ASCD, “The ASCD Whole Child approach is an effort to transition from a focus on narrowly defined academic achievement to one that promotes the long-term development and success of all children.”
They have created these defined tenets below to give educators an outline of what to follow.
Whole Child Tenets
- Each student enters school healthy and learns about and practices a healthy lifestyle.
- Each student learns in an environment that is physically and emotionally safe for students and adults.
- Each student is actively engaged in learning and is connected to the school and broader community.
- Each student has access to personalized learning and is supported by qualified, caring adults.
- Each student is challenged academically and prepared for success in college or further study and for employment and participation in a global environment.
I think they all are a fantastic backbone and for our Whole Child Program, we are going to take it just a bit further! We will be working on using many different mediums to implement some of these tenets along with creating some of our own along the way! Students are given a variety of mediums to explore these concepts from cooking, learning some yoga poses, working with a planner, and maybe even jumping in puddles would be considered.
Children get one chance at a childhood. They have the rest of their lives to be adults. We want to give our students the opportunity to have a beautiful childhood while leading them towards becoming successful adults.
So, try not to avoid those puddles this spring and embrace the learning opportunities that await! Read this article and say yes to puddle play! https://activeforlife.com/say-yes-to-puddle-play/
Want to read more?