• While outside, children frequently initiate their own activities.

• Children are engaged with their activities, and the teachers are
actively engaged with them.

• The outdoor program supports continuous learning and the fact that
children are learning all the time.

• The outdoor curriculum is a distinct and robust part of the overall
program and changes with children’s changing needs and interests.

Tenets • Learning occurs everywhere and all the time.

• Outdoors, the process of mastering the fundamentals of literacy,
math, and science is greatly enhanced in a curriculum that is holistic
and complete.

• The foundation of cognitive development and success in later life
begins with, and relies on, physical activity during the critical first
five years of brain development.

To implement the Outdoor Classroom successfully, you’ll need the
following: • a vision of what you want to achieve
• an awareness of the challenges facing today’s children
• a grasp of developmental theory
• an understanding of the Outdoor Classroom’s principles and
practices • the ability to assess children’s progress in the Outdoor Classroom
Preschool Politics and Play
For decades, the role of play in children’s development has been a con-
tentious issue. Advocates for adult-driven academic programs have quar-
reled with advocates for children’s right to unstructured, self-
initiated play. Recent funding emphasis on kindergarten readiness
as well as the standards movement have intensified the stakes in this
battle. Advocates for the importance of play have responded by forming
4 Introduction