I’ve mentioned this book before, but I really like it… Marion Dowling points out that: “Movement is initially the natural way of learning, for young children. They may be seen to be boisterous and noisy but this behaviour is entirely [-p.151] appropriate for their age. Sally Goddard Blythe suggests the most demanding level of movement for a child is to remain still. It is not that they are unwilling to do so but simply that they do not find it easy to have this degree of control over their bodies. …Children urgently need to become adept at using their bodies and they want to do so. Their physical skills are closely linked to other aspects of development. Those children who are clumsy, now diagnosed as developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD) are found to do less well in school than their intellectual abilities would suggest. Conversely, children who have good control of their bodies tend to have high self-esteem. Movement involves much more than just physical development.” (pp.150-151)
“A well-planned outdoor area, like an indoor area, can offer tremendous scope for children to become self-reliant and make choices and decisions. The outside area can, however, offer the child more scope for challenge: opportunities to take risks in climbing and balancing, in having more spaces to hide, in experiencing the weather, in building and constructing on a larger scale than possible inside. Moreover, the nature of outside play means that children are more likely to instigate activities for themselves rather than being reliant on the adult.” (p.151)
Dowling also offers the following interesting provocations:
“What messages does your outside area give to children as users; how do you know?” (p.162)
“How well does your outside area challenge your oldest and most experienced children?” (p.162)
Ref: (emphases in bold blue mine) Marion Dowling (2005) Young Children’s Personal, Social and Emotional Development. Paul Chapman Publishing: London.