Imagine.... Just imagine. The bell rings for recess time. The kids leave the school building and walk out to the nature trail - whispering excitedly to each other. "Let's go on the rope swing," one boy says to another. "Do you want to work on our fort again?" a little girl asks a friend of hers. As they get closer to the outdoor classroom, the kids get a little louder. You can almost feel the excitement buzzing off of them.
We finally reach the classroom and the children disperse in groups of two and three. They get quiet. They get focused. Everything has meaning to them in the woods. One group starts to pick up sticks and work as a team to build a tee pee. Another group of children in a different area of the woods, uses tree cookies, bricks, and logs to build a store. Two girls start to climb a fallen tree. The tree becomes a space ship. They count down from 10...9....8....
The store the kids are working on is really coming along now. A few children have joined the fun and started making nature bracelets, headbands, and crowns to "sell" to the other kids. They decide pine cones is their rate of currency. This prompts a bunch of children to start searching for heaping amounts of them. Some of the pine cones have sap on them, but this doesn't bother the children. They are too motivated to play their game - to let getting dirty stop them. They start "selling" items to each other.
Another group of kids sees the creative store-play and decides to create a store of their own. Before long, the two stores are negotiating, trading, and purchasing bracelets and headbands from each other.
The children play for a FULL hour! They have ample time to climb large boulders, run through the woods playing tag, spin in tight circles on the rope swing, play hide and seek, and create their own adventures. They test their strength and balance, practice their social skills, engage their senses, and grow a little each time they go out into the woods.
After playing in the woods - the kids patiently line back up. There is a sense of peace about them. They are content, chatting quietly with their peers as they wait for their teacher's command to head back. Back in the classroom, they are ready to dive into their studies. Fidgeting is rarely a problem, since they got their new outdoor classroom.
No one talks about missing the boring plastic play set they all used to cram their little bodies on. Instead, their play is much more meaningful. Imagination and creativity is ignited on a daily basis.
The GOOD news: this is already happening! TimberNook is training developmental specialists (AKA - TimberNook Providers) to go into schools, design innovative outdoor classrooms, implement creative learning opportunities, and bring recess away from buildings and into a more natural setting.
We just need your help in spreading the word. If you want your child to play in the wild during school hours - tell your school about TimberNook.