Once upon a time it would have seemed silly to tell kids to go out and play. The more prevalent problem was getting them to come indoors.
Those days are long gone, for a variety or reasons (safety concerns, video games and television, etc.) and society might as well face up to it.
Doing so in a very positive way is a program taking place in Wallingford called Kinderwoods. In the program, pupils from Moses Y. Beach Elementary School go once a month to the Kohler Environmental Center at Choate Rosemary Hall, where they spend three hours out in the woods.
This seems to be working quite well.
“They’re so completely one hundred percent engaged and crazy and active and discovering,” Adrienne Ferretti, a kindergarten teacher and co-founder of the program, told the Record-Journal.
You could make the observation that Ferretti’s comments pretty much sum up what someone of kindergarten age ought to be — engaged, active and discovering. And at that age a little crazy goes with the territory.
The program started on a kind of woeful note— the observation that kids simply weren’t spending enough time outdoors.
So, Kinderwoods takes care of that, plus injects learning into the experience, though it’s probably a good guess that most kids don’t suspect they’re learning when they’re digging for earthworms or taking the temperature of various outdoorsy things.
There’s already consideration of expanding the program, which sounds like a great idea, whether it’s opening it up to more grade levels or increasing the number of outings, or both.
The sooner kids learn that you can learn a lot about the world by going out into it the better. The children are fortunate to have teachers who recognize that.