The philosophy behind our outside space is based on the Outdoor Classroom Project, whose origin began in Santa Barbara County in 2009 and developed with input by child development experts.
The philosophy of the Outdoor Classroom is that all children need and benefit from more time outdoors. This benefit affects development and learning and is critical for physical health.
Nearly every activity that can be done indoors can be done outdoors. For children ages 0 to 5, development and learning outdoors is often easier and more beneficial than it is indoors.
Full development and integration of the outdoor and indoor program creates the optimal learning and growing environment for young children.
We use the resources of people in the field who have both an extensive knowledge in research and a passion for the outdoor environment. This is the basis for our outdoor classroom.
- Children are active learners. They use their whole bodies to explore, experiment, and solve problems.
- Children need to experience challenging environments with equipment and activities that will provide opportunities for success, discovery, exploration, experimentation, a certain risk and fun.
- A child’s development is optimized when they spend a significant amount of time participating in child-initiated activities that are teacher-supported.
- Children learn about and understand the world through experiences in the outdoor classroom.
Here is what you will see in SMCC’s Outdoor Classroom:
Learning through self-initiation, control, and personal responsibility
Opportunities for a higher level of communication and social development through projects and group activities
Opportunities for cooperation
Peace and refuge
Children engaged in vigorous, and extended physical activities
An inquisitive mind and a sense of wonder
Santa Margarita Children’s Center’s Outdoor Classroom clearly addresses at least seven of the 21st century’s critical issues facing young children:
Lack of exercise.
Preoccupation with electronic media.
Lack of safe places to play outside.
Isolation and fear of nature.
Lack of interest in and understanding of our world including nature and man’s impact on it.
Current trends toward a one-dimensional approach to early childhood education.
The epidemic use of behavior-modifying drugs on young children.
Full development and integration of outdoor and indoor programs creates the optimal learning and growing environment for young children.