It is important to recognize that children’s physical development and their health and safety has an important a place in the curriculum as other areas of development. Children develop skills necessary for future social and academic success as they explore, combine and refine their physical movements. Thoughtfully planned movement experiences with vigorous outdoor and indoor activities are a part of the daily schedule.
Children in our care deserve environments that are safe and encourage healthy living. Therefore, it is important to model healthy living practices and teach children the importance of good hygiene, a healthy diet, and the need for exercise and rest. (Arizona Department of Education, Early Learning Standards, 4th ed., May 2018)
At Valley View, we spend half of our day outside. All classrooms spend an hour outside in the mornings with their teachers and other friends from other classrooms, 45 minutes to an hour after lunch, and an hour during afternoon Care time. Our outdoor space was planned and built with early learners in mind. All equipment and materials are appropriate for preschoolers including swings, slides, a sand box, water features, a garden, and toys and tools to get our work done. We also offer tricycles and wagons to do heavy work with our arms and legs. A grassy area is available for running and playing games. Teachers often engage in play with students by either joining in their made up games, leading a dance party, or creating an obstacle course. Teachers and assistants are constantly observing children’s physical skills and help students focus on those skills by encouraging certain exercises or activities that promote development of gross motor skills.