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Maryland Preschool Dedicates Half of Learning Time to Playing Outside

Maryland Preschool Dedicates Half of Learning Time to Playing Outside

A new preschool in Annapolis, MD is focusing on the importance of play in early education; playing outside comprises half of students' instruction time.

The Jewish preschool, the Tree of Life Preschool, uses Judaism’s connections to nature to have its young students learn through outdoor activities.

"Allison Charapp, the director of the school, said the school focuses on outdoor education and Jewish traditions, teaching children values, motor skills and respect for nature,” said the Capital Gazette.

"The children learn the food they eat comes from the ground, such as olives, avocados and bananas. They collect pennies to learn how to count. The money goes toward a group that plants trees in Israel."

In order to facilitate the outdoor play, students are even required to bring a change of clothes to use when needed.

Such programs that emphasize play like the Tree of Life Preschool are becoming increasingly more rare as early education programs have begun pushing academic learning to keep up with rigorous standards.

The lack of playtime has affected all grade levels in schools across the country with things like recess are now a luxury and not a guarantee.

After a nationwide backlash against the lack of playtime for America’s students, districts are now beginning to mandate a minimum amount of daily recess. 

Last week, mom and writer Maria Guido criticized schools that are implementing standing and pedal desks in replacement of playtime of recess for exercise.

“...we need to focus on the real problem: that the 20 minutes of recess our kids are being allotted is not enough,” she said in a post for ScaryMommy.com. 

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

2/8/2016

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