There is no bad weather, just bad clothing. –Norwegian proverb
Among the handful of things commonly known about the coastal Pacific Northwest, is that it rains a lot. Not necessarily in terms of inches (there are many places that get more total rainfall) but in terms of days, weeks and months of overcast skies and misty precipitation, turning to drizzle, then back again. We usually get a couple cold snaps each year, but don’t count on snow, except in the mountains, because the nearby Pacific Ocean keeps our winters mild. No, from September through May we’re all about cool and moist, with occasional wind thrown in for good measure.
And in spite of that, we love to hike, camp, boat, ski, fish and generally do pretty much anything one can do in nature. If you’ve lived in the Northwest for any length of time, you’ll identify with this TV commercial, which just might be my favorite of all time:
At Woodland Park playing outside is an option during our large motor time no matter what the weather, but I’ve recently been thinking that this isn’t enough. Why shouldn’t we, for instance, be making our art outside? Why shouldn’t we be building with blocks outside? And is there any better place than outdoors for sensory experiences, fine motor development, and dramatic play?
Last week, Australian preschool teacher Mamabare wrote a piece on her terrific blog, Let The Children Play, about the "forest school" movement in Europe and linked to this inspiring video about an outdoor preschool in Norway. As Mamabare warns, it’s a little long (especially if you check out the second half for which the link is provided below) so you might want to “grab a cuppa” before hitting play:
(Here's the link to the second half of this film.)
It looks like my daughter’s beloved summer camp, except it goes all year long! We’re an urban preschool, so we don’t have the direct access to the forests, mountains and ponds that these kids do, but we still have the outside. I’m definitely going to be planning some all-outdoor days for the New Year.