This year, a team of teachers, a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist worked together to add a new station at Powell River’s Ages and Stages. Ages and Stages is an annual event designed to educate and enlighten parents of preschoolers about ways to provide optimum all-round development for their preschool child. The team from my school decided we needed to get the word out to parents about the importance of getting their children outdoors and away from TV, Computers, video games etc. In other words: SCREEN to GREEN!
As an elementary school teacher and special education teacher for the past 30 years, I have seen a very worrisome trend in child development in the last ten or so years. Children, are finding it harder to attend in class, to socialize, to play creatively to print and to coordinate their large body movements. As time went on and I talked to more professionals in education, there seemed to be a consensus…children are not getting outside enough, and they are spending too much time watching TV, video games and playing on the computer. ( Just go for a walk on Saturday morning or afternoon in my neighbourhood and it is rare to see children playing outdoors.)
So, to make parents more aware of the importance of outdoor play, we set up a station where children and their parents could explore nature. We called our station “Occupy Outside” and we had fun showing children the large tadpoles in our little “pond”.
We had a planting table where children could plant colourful beans or sunflower seeds and we also gave out little strawberry and lettuce plants.
We even had Little Humbugs around so the children could make little homes for them with ferns and driftwood. All in all it was a very successful day. I know we adults had a good time as did our Grade 9 helpers and by the looks on the young children’s faces, I know that they especially enjoyed our Occupy Outdoors station.
Thanks to Marghanita Hughes for all the support.
Special Education Teacher
Powell River B.C.