Friday, April 20, 2012

When I Play Outside I Am Learning....



Does this sound familiar?

I receive many emails for advice like this one from teachers who are feeling the pressure to justify their play-based outdoor programs to parents, administrators or colleagues.







Lisa Murphy aka The Ooey Gooey Lady  refers to these folk as 'wolves':

Wolves ....desire to know the rationale for flubber, the developmentally appropriateness of ooblick, the reason for the hokey pokey...and seem to search incessantly for an overall justification of the importance of what we might call “play.”  Wolves desire goals, objectives and activities that are aligned with standards, benchmarks and an assortment of desired results.  - A Crash Course in the Language of the Wolves by Lisa Murphy 


How do we deal with wolves?  We learn to speak their language.  Confidently explaining what children are learning when they play can work wonders to allay the fears of parents in a world where many feel pressured to hurry their children up and prepare them for the next level of their education.

Learning to speak the language of the wolves can be as simple as linking 'learning words' with play experiences when we speak to parents, says Murphy:

When we are squeezing playdough we are strengthening our hands and eventually, when our hands and fingers are strong enough, we are able to hold pencils.

So inspired, I've tweaked and added to Lisa Murphy's list of 'learning words' to make them applicable to outdoor play.  You can use these words to help you explain what the children are doing when they play outside:


I have created this as an A4 sized document which you can download easily by clicking here.  Print it out and pop it on your notice board, add it to your newsletter or use the words in everyday conversations with parents.

As Lisa Murphy says:


Great will be the day when we no longer have to defend what we do – but for now, we do.  So we must be armed with an arsenal of information!  


(I'd love you to let me know if you find handouts like this one useful.)

32 comments:

  1. What a fantastic resource...i used to use these sort of words in a Today i....when having fun outdoors type note thing (sounds technical doesn't it...lol). Parents seemed to be more impressed and 'understanding' when they saw it written down for them...i guess it felt like more of a learning experience and that way i could personalise them to the different child's experiences a little too. Took time but paid off!!!Wonderful of you to share such great work!

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    1. I completely understand your Today...I in a note type thing Jode :) Sometimes I think we forget that parents don't necessarily have all the background info like we do, and just assume they know what's what. Or at least I do. Educating parents is such a big part of our job.

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  2. Love the poster! I will print it, frame it, and post it in our outdoor play area! :)

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    1. Alma, so happy you are going to use it!

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  3. This is brilliant - will be delighted to share this far & wide :) Thanks for doing the hard work, Kierna.

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    1. Thank you lovely Kierna :) And it's not such hard work - I was making it for preschool anyway!

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  4. That is fabulous. Is it ok to pin it on Pinterest and out it on my blog (linked to your blog?).

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    1. Pin away Rach, I'd be chuffed if you did. I'm a pinaholic myself.

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  5. Printed the outside learning document to put on our door. Thanks so much for putting it together! Love your blog :)

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    1. Thanks for letting me know! I love to hear that the things I post are being used.

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  6. Thanks so much for sharing which allows me to share with my families.

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    1. My pleasure Gari - so happy that you will share it.

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  7. Love this, but actual wolves in the wild are all about play. It is how the young are taught, and has very high status in the pack.

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  8. I love this poster and will be printing it off and sticky it on my classroom door for all the parents, teachers and students to see. Thank you!

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    1. Yay - happy you will be able to use it Caroline.

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  9. We are having an Open House this weekend and I'm going to post this great list for parents and other interested people to see. Thanks for sharing and yes, things like this are very helpful!

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    1. Janis - perfect! Thanks for stopping by and letting me know that it is something you can use.

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  10. This is beautiful and a great reminder, thanks!!

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  11. Thanks for putting this together and sharing it, looks great and will definitely use,
    Rachel

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  12. This is SO very useful. I've recently returned back to work as an Early Childhood Educator and so far, I'm taking all my experiences out doors. I'm lucky that my Director is supportive and passionate but convincing the parents can be more difficult. I really appreciate this list and will be referring to it regularly. Love the ideas at this site - so very inspiring!

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  13. This is SO very useful. I've recently returned back to work as an Early Childhood Educator and so far, I'm taking all my experiences out doors. I'm lucky that my Director is supportive and passionate but convincing the parents can be more difficult. I really appreciate this list and will be referring to it regularly. Love the ideas at this site - so very inspiring!

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    1. Makes me so happy to know that people not only read the stuff I write but that it is useful in the working lives. Thanks for letting me know :)

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  14. I am not sure how I stumbled upon this awesome site. I have a small English school in Japan and hope to open a preschool next year. Your site has inspired me. Thank you.

    -David

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  15. This is absolutely fantastic! I'm definitely going to be popping this into my next newsletter to parents.

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  16. this is so awesome. thank you so much :)

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  17. This is great! I will post it and share with the families in a newsletter. Thank you!

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  18. Just found your blog, very inspiring. WE also spend majority of our time outdoors and I will be printing this poster to display in our outdoor area. Thnaks a lot!

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