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Muddy Explorers
September 10, 2018
Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it.
-Marian Anderson

An article in The Atlantic proclaims that “most American kids don’t spend large chunks of their day catching salamanders and poking sticks into piles of fox poop. In a nation moving toward greater standardization of its public-education system, programs centered around getting kids outside to explore aren’t normal.

The article’s author, Conor Williams, goes on to explain “that’s precisely what students do at the Nature Preschool at Irvine Nature Center in Owings Mills, Maryland. There, every day, dozens of children ages 3 to 5 come to have adventures on Irvine’s more than 200 acres of woodlands, wetlands, and meadows. These muddy explorers stand out at a moment when many American pre-K programs have become more and more similar to K–12 education: row after row of tiny kids, sitting at desks, drilling letter identification and counting.

Mention how anomalous this seems, though, and the teachers at the Nature Preschool can only express their wish that that weren’t the case: Why is it odd for 4-year-olds to spend the bulk of their time outside? When did America decide that preschool should be boring routines performed within classroom walls?”

Source: “The Perks of a Play-In-the-Mud Educational Philosophy,” by Conor Williams, The Atlantic, April 26, 2018

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Comments (2)

Displaying All 2 Comments
Arlene DeCicco · September 11, 2018
McKor Shalon Nursery
Cherry Hill, NJ, United States

It might be the thinking that many of the children love to come away from the confinement of the school room to the open outside space?

Anne Abrams · September 10, 2018
United States

This is absolutely right in my opinion. I grew up in forest field beach and stream. Tons if time totally unsupervised. All children i wish at any age would have that freedom. Its hard to put our self invented curriculum in a standard preschool classrom with licensed soace of 5x7 ft required space per child- just about the same size as a prison cell.

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