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The Outdoors: An Investment in Children's Health

Thursday, March 30, 2017

We often refer to 'the Waldorf difference' when we tell families about our school and summer programs. What makes Camp Roadrunner and Summergarden stand out among the hundreds of summer camps in Austin?

 

Our camps are held on the beautifully shaded 19-acre campus of Austin Waldorf School. Our daily rhythm not only allows for engaging guided activities, but provides a considerable amount of time outside, time to climb trees, run through a sprinkler, chase a grasshopper or build a fort. Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, states: 

 

“The physical exercise and emotional stretching that children enjoy in unorganized play is more varied and less time-bound than is found in organized sports. Playtime—especially unstructured, imaginative, exploratory play—is increasingly recognized as an essential component of wholesome child development.” 

 

Studies from several early childhood publications find that there is no substitute for time outside in a natural setting. When children are outside they can more fully and freely explore their motor skills - jumping, climbing, lifting and carrying. Sunlight stimulates the pineal gland, regulating a child's 'biological clock' and contributing to a sense of happiness and well being. We believe that there is more to summer camp than just filling up time with projects, entertainment, and activity. The time spent walking on gravel paths among oak trees, noticing the sights, sounds and textures of nature, and engaging in unstructured social play, allows children to unwind from the sometimes stressful pace of their school year. 

 

Let this summer be a time when your child can relax and reconnect with the outdoors. Allow them a space where they can run, jump, and yell as well as daydream, observe, and create. Childhood is a precious time, make the most of it!

 

"Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along grass-stained sleeves to the heart. If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature.”
― Richard LouvLast Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder



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