Go Outside Program Description
This program will take effect June 29th, 2020.
Ready Set Go Outside offers programs for ages 2 to 12.
Hours of Operation: Monday- Friday except holiday closings
- Summer Camp 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
- School Year
- Preschool Sessions- 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
- After School Sessions- 3:00 to 5:30 PM
- Non Public School Days (RSU5)- 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Please see individual programs for specific times. We offer an after school outdoor program, morning and afternoon outdoor sessions, all day outdoor sessions during non public school days and afternoon indoor care during the school year. Locations are listed with the programs.
Ready Set Go Outside offers a child centered program where children have the choice to explore with senses, sing, read, build, practice mindfulness, write, dig, socialize, garden, exercise, relax, play with water, create, carve, and sculpt.
- How will children learn LITERACY? Children will learn letter/word recognition, letter-sound recognition, story sequencing, letter writing, vocabulary/language through story telling, reading story books, songs around the campfire, writing in journals, following directions, art, and more.
- How will children learn MATHEMATICS? Children will learn number recognition, patterns, spatial awareness, measuring, organizing and sequencing through music, drumming, building, reading books, story telling, songs, arts, scientific observations, etc.
- How will children learn SCIENCE? Children will learn through sensory exploration in natural settings, observation of living versus nonliving things, studying animal behavior, experimenting with natural elements, problem solving, gardening, and using tools (nets, microscopes, magnifiers, eye droppers, scales, measuring tools, digital technology, binoculars).
- How will children learn SOCIAL STUDIES/SKILLS? Children will learn time concepts and seasons through observing the position of the sun, moon and stars. Social skills will develop through sharing tools, problem solving, cooperative activities, community service (e.g., recycling) and more. Children will learn map skills and navigating their neighborhood through orienteering activities. We can begin to explore democratic organization by involving children in teamwork and voting. Children will be integral in designing and building our outdoor classroom. Resilience and risk taking skills naturally develop in outdoor settings when children climb trees and rocks, splash in puddles, gather materials and build a structure, slide down a sand pile or snowy hill, and use tools like saws and hammers.
- ART will be integrated through campfire and marching songs, drum circles, flute playing, rhythm instruments, drama through story telling, natural crafts, silly dances, and other movement activities.
- MOTOR SKILLS will develop through exploring different terrain and elements, climbing, writing, using tools (sawing, whittling, knot tying, etc.), building, digging, swinging, sliding, sledding, and fire building.
Philosophy and Goals
Children are designed to learn best through play. Our world begins small consisting of ourselves and our caregivers. As our brain grows, our learning grows and our world grows larger. The best settings allow for children to safely explore the world immediately around them so that they can learn to manage risks, and gain skills and experience. This is important to their physical development, brain development, and social/emotional development. We all learn better when we are interested and involved. Hands on/experiential activities that are created through child interest are the most lasting educational tools. Learning through play is the most effective technique to creating lifelong learners. Ready Set Go Outside strives to provide open ended settings for children to learn about their immediate environment to build awareness and self esteem without the distractions of modern technology.
Ready Set Go Outside will offer children an opportunity to create their own learning environment. Children will explore areas in their community through hiking, writing, reading, ponding, tidepooling, building, listening, singing, observing, digging, creating and socializing. The tools used to enhance learning activities will be found in the forest or reused and recycled from the community. Teachers will facilitate child led learning experiences where children are free to be who they are. No lining up. No testing. No electronics. No ads… just exploration of the natural world where teachers observe, advise on safety and offer knowledge of natural habitats. Children hardly need any guidance in learning as they are natural learners. Teachers will observe skills and growth and provide evidence of learning.
The main goals will be to guide children in:
- creating a strong sense of self
- developing independent learning skills
- cultivating enthusiasm and curiosity through sensory experiences
- building skills to handle challenging situations
- becoming socially confident in an unstructured setting
- exploring ways to become helpful members of community
- emotional regulation and happiness
Spending time outside is important for health. Our biology requires sunshine to make Vitamin D which is important for physical health and helps improve our mood. Children who play outside are more likely to get cardiovascular exercise which is key to physical and mental wellbeing. It greatly decreases the likelihood of developing heart disease and diabetes while strengthening bone health.
Children need time in unstructured settings to learn skills for navigating social situations as well as spending time alone to reset and reflect. Children who spend all day in school, then daycare, then home for dinner will not gain independent skills effectively. “Forest bathing” has proven to increase immune system response as well as decrease anxiety and depression which are becoming prevalent in young generations.
Changing seasons and weather provide new challenges that aid in brain growth. Children naturally use cognitive thinking skills during outdoor play while increasing their creativity and imagination from the open ended possibilities. Spending more time outside improves attention spans and reduces stress.
Being outside in winter presents a different type of group setting where germs are not as easily passed along. There isn’t a need for sanitizing the play area the way there is in a classroom. Children are exposed to fresh cold air which improves their immune function. Wide open spaces decrease germ sharing as opposed to the increased exposure in indoor environments in the winter where bacteria and viruses are more likely to grow as windows and doors stay closed for the season.
Exposure to gardening increases children’s knowledge about healthy foods and encourages tasting new flavors. Children are much more likely to eat a food they picked themselves. Fresh garden fruits and vegetables have more flavor than store bought produce which increases the likelihood of children enjoying healthy foods. Another benefit is developing a sense of responsibility. If plants do not get the basic requirements, then they do not thrive or even survive. Children learn there is a relationship between their actions and the outcomes of growing food.
Mixed age groups facilitate more social learning. Children learn kindness, cooperation and responsibility when grouped with younger and older children. They increase their capacity for empathy and consideration when navigating relationships with children of various ages. They are motivated by the skills they see being used by children who have mastered them which in turn motivates them to become teachers or helpers to children who have not mastered the skills that they currently have. Teachers will observe children trying new roles and coping skills as the younger, middle or older child in a group setting.