Outdoor Play Everyday
An integral part of our philosophy and approach to educating young children is our firm belief in the positive benefits of play and education out of doors. Research shows that lamentably, childhood has "moved indoors" over the last twenty years and that children are showing signs of the negative effects of the lack of contact with nature. Studies show the mental, physical, and emotional benefits that come from playing outside. It is our goal to allow students an hour of unstructured play outdoors, no matter the weather (excepting dangerous conditions such as ice, lightning, and extreme cold). In order to allow our children to play and explore safely, parents will be required to dress children in layers in cold weather and provide rain suits, boots, and snow suits for wet, muddy, and snowy days. These suits are the only required "uniforms" at Providence Hybrid Academy.
Children who play outdoors are, in general, more physically active. Statistics show that 1 in 3 American children are obese. Outdoor play increases fitness and physical health. In addition to better overall fitness, time in nature can help improve eyesight. It also causes kids to get more Vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin), which in turn makes for stronger hearts and bones and decreases the risk of diabetes and other diseases.
Children who have time for unstructured outdoor play demonstrate greater creativity and problem-solving skills. Time in nature increases children's ability to focus as well as their cognitive abilities. Studies show significant gains in all academic domains when students have time to play outside. And with epidemic rates of ADD/ADHD in children, free play outdoors reduces ADD/ADHD symptoms.
In addition to the aforementioned mental and physical benefits of time in nature, outdoor play encourages cooperative play. It also enhances peace, self-control, and self-discipline. Lastly, in a society that hyperschedules and hurries childhood, time in nature reduces stress.