The Importance of Outdoor Education in Preschools
Visitors to Early Birds Istanbul often first remark on the preschool’s generous garden. The school’s founder and director, Regina Kruse-Özçelik, has long been a proponent of outdoor education, and the Early Birds campus beautifully showcases this.
Indeed, it is the Early Birds themselves, in other words the children, who designed this 600m2 outdoor space. Using the project-based learning approach (PBL), teachers guided the children through the dreaming, planning and implementation phases. Currently, there are an adobe house, a treehouse, sandpit and several raised vegetable beds in the garden, all designed by the children. Streets, tunnels and bridges for their bicycles and plenty more will follow soon.
The benefits of outdoor education and the importance of play have been widely researched and corroborated, and go far beyond bolstering physical development. A nature-based curriculum leads to increased academic performance, and outdoor classrooms access a child’s various intelligences; children’s independence, problem-solving skills and self-confidence increase.
The post-Covid-19 “new normal” will no doubt see a preference for groups of children to gather in large outdoor spaces to reduce the spread of infection. Here at Early Birds Istanbul, we are already well-equipped for this. Our team is experienced in outdoor education and the return to school will be seamless.
By Regina Kruse-Özçelik