Some of you may know that I am a big fan of promoting outdoor play for children. Getting children outdoors boasts a long list of benefits. Children who play in nature:
- Improve their gross-motor skills, including balance, agility and coordination.
- Exhibit better cognitive development such as reasoning, observation and awareness.
- Experience reduced stress and enhanced abilities to focus.
- Participate in social interactions and collaboration with their peers.
- Learn to love and appreciate the environment, and are more likely to care for it in the future.
Our Pre-K classes have formed a partnership with the Litzinger Road Ecology Center. The LREC is a 34-acre private nature center in Ladue. The land was acquired by a private donation and is maintained by the Missouri Botanical Garden. The area includes a bottomland forest, three restored prairies, and a creek. Children spend the morning exploring and engaging with nature. Teachers collaborate with LREC volunteers to include age-appropriate nature learning experiences while they are there.
I have been lucky to accompany two classes on their field trips this fall.
We skipped rocks in the creek, looked for signs of animals, collected seeds, and spent valuable time in nature. It was a wonderful experience. I am so thankful that the teachers of KUM understand the importance of getting kids outside and have dedicated a portion of their class time to include nature.