An Outdoor Space

Have you ever had an idea one day that is so incredibly obvious you should have had it long before? Because everything was just sitting right in front of your face, not being used, waiting for you to notice it?

Last Friday when just a few children were up from rest time, working purposefully at the writing table, I thought I would go get the unit blocks that I put outside to dry out some tree stumps in September. Those unit blocks were rotted and black, and I could see them sitting there through the large glass door in our classroom that opens up to a narrow cement walkway about 40 feet long and five feet wide. A door from the other PreK class also opens onto that walkway, and opposite from the classroom doors is a four foot wall. Between the two classrooms, the walkway widens to about eight feet, and there is a small table weathered from being outdoors.

I hope you see where I am going with this.

I have an outdoor learning space attached to my classroom.
I did not notice it until April.
I am excited beyond words.

I immediately took the tree stumps off their rotten block stands and put three at each end of the walkway. Boundaries and seating and something to explore as well! The children came out the door to see what I was doing and began running back and forth between the two sets of tree stumps. One of my four-year-olds stepped up onto a stump and could easily see over the wall -- the view is a wooded area between the main road and school. It is brillant!

height assistance:

the view:

I used to be jealous that the two nursery classes have doors that open directly onto the playground. I thought of how great it would be to give children the freedom to choose between indoor play and outdoor play during choice time. The idea of a free flow between our classroom and the outdoors was appealing as well. With this space now, the children are within view, they have more choices, and can choose a new, engaging environment. Right now I honestly feel like I could write about this for hours. And hours. So I think I should switch over to my journal and maybe fill you in with more concrete thoughts at another time. Visions of sensory tables and planters are dancing in my head.

I am excited to brainstorm abou this environment. Do you have an outdoor space that is not specifically for "outdoor play"? Would you like one? How do/would you use it?