Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston, Texas. Child care Montessori provider in Champions, The Woodlands, Spring Texas Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston
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The playground sometimes seems to be an in-between holding place for when we really don’t have other things going on in the school. In fact, play is what children do to learn about their worlds and to construct their own worlds. The playground is an integral part of our children’s experience. They need physical challenge from a playground; the opportunity to literally reach new heights and to run free. They need the stimulus of risk. They need choices in climbing, sliding, and swinging so they can determine the excitement and challenge for which they are ready. Structures are necessary that allow derring-do with which to build self-esteem. Equally im-portant are break away places for those who change their minds or need time to act – alternate routes up and down, graduated challenge, and a range of opportunities to build self-esteem without pressure.

American children with their sterile playgrounds are tremendously behind European and Japanese children physically. Children in Europe have more extensive experiences in climbing, jumping, swinging, balancing, judging, perceiving, and in risk-taking than our children, who typically have 20 to 30 minutes on the playground at a time on fixed, uninteresting equipment. In Tokyo, Japanese children three- to five-year-olds engage successfully in unusually challenging climbing activities involving ropes, ladders, and climbing platforms at heights forbidden on American playgrounds.

The other advantage of playground time is the opportunity to be out of the air conditioning and the things people control into the world of varying temperatures, humidity, animals, and light. Our children need to learn how to adapt to lots of conditions, and more than to adapt, to enjoy. Learning for adults and for children is not something to be poured into them. It is an active, intellectual, and hands-on process. Our children need to learn that there are very few, if any, right ways to do things, but that there are lots of ways that work. On the playground, they get a chance to try some of those ways in a noisy, sometimes push and shove way.

We really work to have our children on the playground at least four hours out of the twelve that the school is open each day. If rain is not actually falling from the sky (and if we have on bathing suits, even if it is), we are outside that day. Our staff are there to share cold and hot, wet and sunny. The children can do things at the school like dig in the dirt, move equipment around, and share with their friends. Our staff only keep a watchful eye while the children are given the opportunity to learn to construct their own worlds.