Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays!

December is the month for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza. As we spend time with our nearest and dearest, we hope that you have a wonderful holiday season full of friends, family, and good cheer. Thank you so much for allowing The Adventurous Child and The Outdoor Preschool to be a part of your lives this year. We look forward to seeing you in 2011!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Experiences & Development

Relationships are important. Whether they are between friends, co-workers, or children and their care providers, you must nurture those relationships for them to grow.

Of course, there are also figurative relationships, such as the one between experiences and development:

The adults in a child’s life play a critical role in determining what types of experiences are made available to the child and, consequently, in determining the course of development. (Children and Families, Fall 2009, p. 34)

That means you! You have the awesome opportunity of deciding what your children get to play with, learn, and observe every day.

At The Adventurous Child, we want to help you provide fun and educational experiences for your children that will assist them in meeting and surpassing developmental milestones. Whether you want them to learn how to recognize different sounds, develop an appreciation for reading, or improve their balance and coordination, we are devoted to working with you to meet those needs.

What kind of experiences are you making available to your children? Whatever they may be, I hope that reading our blog will give you a better idea of some of your options. Thanks for stopping by – we look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Early November is a great time to take your children for a hike. Whether you actually take them into the woods or around your playground, they will enjoy being outdoors during the seasonal transition. Now is the time to kick up some leaves and talk about the cooler temperatures. Ask them how the air feels on their skin, what colors they see, and what season follows autumn.

Some of the fun things you can do with children outdoors right now include*:
· Engaging them in discussions about animals and plants that are going through autumnal changes
· Ask them whether the lighting is different (this works especially well if you take them outside at the same time every day)
· Bring a notebook to use as a nature journal for written descriptions or pictures
· Bring a recorder to capture the sounds of the day
· Bring several baggies and a black permanent marker to give your children practice with sorting. Collect seeds, nuts, pinecones, rocks, and leaves and place them in the labeled bags.

At the end of your hike, whether it lasts 15 minutes or an hour, you can sit down at your literacy gazebo and write and draw about your experiences. Children will be excited to talk about everything they saw, smelled, felt, and heard… while tasting some nice apple cider (our favorite autumn treat).

* (Thanks to Renee Carver for these fantastic tips!)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Who is TAC?

Recently it occurred to us that as much as you know about The Adventurous Child’s products and equipment, you may not know a whole lot about us. We’d like to spend today sharing a little bit about ourselves and our company.

Our focus is to provide outdoor playground equipment that meet each state’s Early Learning Standards and to provide children with fun environments that feature environmentally-friendly recycled plastic. Our passion is to help create outdoor classrooms that are learning places, just like the indoors—full of fun, free play and the ability to meet the state’s current Early Learning Standards.

As an outdoor classroom and outdoor play equipment company, our number one core value is to make people happy — our customers, our staff and anyone with whom we come in contact. Secondly, everyone at The Adventurous Child is part of the same team — since 1986 we have been working together to support each other so we can effectively support our customers. Thirdly, we strive for continuous improvement, both of ourselves and our children's outdoor playground equipment designs, products, service and customer relationships.

We are proud and excited to be celebrating our 24th anniversary this year. The customer thank you notes, testimonials and referrals for the last 24 years tell me that our customers are grateful for our values. We hope you enjoy stopping by my blog and by Steph’s blog. Feel free to shoot us a message! We really appreciate receiving feedback, and we’d love to answer any of your questions.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Until approximately age 6, children are concrete learners rather than abstract learners. Engaging them in their senses – hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and touching – is the most effective way for them to learn. Young children require tangible methods for really learning phenomena.

For example, weather is a great topic to teach young children. But why not teach it to them outside? By only discussing the phenomena of weather indoors, children are being denied opportunities to truly experience nature’s mercurial ways. Reading a book or watching a movie clip is incomparable to taking them outside during a light rain shower, when they can see the clear drops, feel their wetness, taste the water, smell them, and hear their pitter-patter against the ground.

A multidisciplinary approach to learning is imperative for expanding children’s learning. Why not integrate learning, discovery, delight, and determination with the Weather Station Learning Center?

With the Weather Station Learning Center in your outdoor classroom, kids will:

· Measure water collected in the rain gauge
· Observe the weather vane to note the wind’s direction
· Using the barometer and temperature gauges, discern variation (whether they are reading the numbers or simply observing the change)
· Become capable of documenting weather at the weather weekly panel

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Here at The Adventurous Child, we’ve been on a kick about assessment lately. Check this quote out:

“Assessment is an integrative process…. Learning is personal, active, and genuine; discovery invites mastery and empowerment; delight feeds passion and a quest for more; and determination nurtures confidence and creates a sense that learning is forever” (Hughes & Gullo, 2010, p. 58-90).

By making learning a delightful journey that encourages determination among children, you are giving them a gift for life. A thirst for learning – not just seeking the answer to a question, but the process of seeking it as well – will carry children through school and life.

Since learning contains several components – discovery, delight, and determination – it stands that assessment must be multivariate, as well. How many ways do you currently assess your children? Do you give some methods more weight than others?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Creative/Dramatic Play: Store Front (Part 4 of 4)

“Caps for sale! Caps for sale!”

Make your children’s favorite stories come to life with a store front. Place the store front along a bike path and let children create their own story —maybe a lemonade stand, a counter at a bank, post office or fast food restaurant – the possibilities are as plentiful as the imagination. Just remember: as the teacher or care provider, “if you dominate the play, you take away some of the creative value for the children” (Miller, 1989. p. 41). Let them be in control.

Several store fronts strategically placed in an outdoor play area create a friendly small town effect
Check out The Adventurous Child and The Outdoor Preschool Store for more information!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Creative/Dramatic Play: Car Wash (Part 3 of 4)

Hot day? Take your kids outside and let them cool off with a car wash.

A great addition to any outdoor play area, the car wash allows children to enter and exit through realistic plastic flaps, similar to a real car wash. A pipe runs down the roof line and has several sprayer jets that release water on the children as they ride through the car wash. Connect a standard hose to the sprayer jets, turn on the water and the fun begins!

As I discussed earlier, water play can improve children’s physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development. Playing with the car wash will allow them to participate in a variety of gross/fine motor and sensory activities, make simple cause/effect predictions as well as use new vocabulary, and role play different types of occupations. Consider adding a car wash to your outdoor play area today!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Creative/Dramatic Play: Playhouse and Gas Pump (Part 2 of 4)

Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld, renowned dance instructor, commented: “I know from my experiences that when children have the chance to move and to be creative, it helps them engage with the rest of the curriculum…. [M]ovement involve[s] language and patterning, which support reading and problem solving” (p. 12).

A playhouse offers abundant opportunities for movement and creative play. A playhouse provides the structure but the children create the story. Depending on the children’s imagination, the playhouse can be a home, bank, restaurant, covered bridge, etc. Throw a sheet over the playhouse and it’s a cave. The options are endless!

A gas pump allows children to fill things up, including their bikes, wagons, wheelchairs, or even shoes. Children will increase their ability to problem solve through exploration (i.e., pump gas like an adult).

An example of a fun playhouse and gas pump can be found at The Adventurous Child and at The Outdoor Preschool Store.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Creative/Dramatic Play (Part 1 of 4)

“Music, dance, drama, and story are the oldest ways human beings learned to pass on information, traditions, customs, and beliefs…. In the vocabulary of some Native American and African languages, there is no word for art, because art is part of everything the people do. Children are natural connectors. Similarly, they see the performing arts as part of everything they do” (Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld; article: Derry Koralek Young Children, March 2010, p. 10).

As we continue our series on Fine Arts, let’s examine how creative and dramatic play is beneficial to children’s learning. Do you remember playing dress-up or performing for your friends and parents? Take a walk down memory lane with us while we talk about some products that will be great in your preschool or daycare center’s outdoor classroom.

Join us on Thursday as we take a look at playhouses and gas pumps.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to School: Bookcase (Part 4 of 4)

While sharing stories in the Literacy Gazebo, select one of the children’s favorites from the Bookcase. This handy-dandy bookcase is designed to display books and art supplies in an outdoor classroom setting. Specially-formulated playground plastics are used to create the shelves and the exterior of the bookcase so that the weather (i.e. rain, sun, heat and cold) will not affect whatever is stored inside, or the case itself. The bookcase features a locking lid that can be placed on the front of the display case as well as the top.

Whether the children are requesting Strega Nona or The Cat in the Hat, The Kissing Hand or The Very Hungry Caterpillar, you will be able to keep their favorites safe and accessible in this sturdy book case on their literacy gazebo. Perfect for story time in their outdoor classroom! (Contact The Adventurous Child to find out more.)

Back to School: Literacy Gazebo (Part 3 of 4)

One great way to make that transition from summer to school is with the literacy gazebo. The Literacy Gazebo provides a great place for children to sit and listen to stories, tell stories to other children, or create their own stories using art supplies. Imagine sitting outside with the children. A cool breeze running through your hair, the shelter’s shade keeping everyone comfortable… you can read and create together and enjoy nature’s lovely background all at the same time.

This area includes two bookcases and three benches. The sixth side of the area is open for entering and exiting the area. Each bookcase has four different shelves for displaying materials. One of the bookcases is designed to hold art supplies such as paper and markers so children can draw and tell their stories; the second one is designed to hold books.

The literacy gazebo will become a favorite landmark for reading, story-telling, and drawing. Children will love the opportunity to stay outdoors, and after an hour of running around in the sun, cooling off in the gazebo while listening to a story will be just the ticket!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back to School: Teacher’s Organizational Post (Part 2 of 4)

Maybe the Boy Scouts have a claim on the motto, “Be Prepared,” but there’s no reason that can’t be your motto, too.

Wouldn’t it be nice to never have to run back inside for something? The Teacher’s Organizational Post is a multipurpose structure for centralizing outdoor teacher supplies. Ideal for outdoor classrooms, the post contains a large hook to support hanging items like backpacks, a shelf for clip boards and writing activity, and a child-accessible tissue holder and trash receptacle so children can retrieve their own tissues and dispose of them in a hygienic manner.

This organizational post will make a fantastic addition to your outdoor classroom. After all, if you have stations for writing activities and tissues, and a closet for backpacks, why not set up a similar area outside?

Check out The Adventurous Child for more information about the post!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to School (Part 1 of 4)

Chalk dust! Art supplies! Curriculum! Recess! Yes, it time to head back to school. Whether classes have already started, or you have a few more weeks to prepare, now is a great time to think about your plans for the school year. Everyone at The Adventurous Child is so excited for a new year!

Over the next couple weeks, I will be talking about some products that will make the back-to-school transition go smoothly. (First up: the Teacher’s Organizational Post!)

However, before we talk product, let’s talk goals. What would you like to do differently this year? Is there a teaching method or activity you would like to try? At the end of the school year, what lessons or answers do you want your students to walk away with?

Sasha Azevedo, an American athlete, once remarked: “We can teach from our experience, but we cannot teach experience.”

Let’s make this the year of experience for our children. Make this the year that you teach and learn through creation, demonstration, and observation. Play outside, conduct experiments, and engage in nature. Experience the world together.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Drivers’ Ed

Who doesn’t remember learning how to drive? Whether you learned on an automatic or a manual, on urban streets or in the country, learning to drive is a big deal. This sparked a fun conversation among folks at The Adventurous Child as we recalled the various stops and starts of our own drivers’ education.

Speaking of stops and starts, recognizing signs is a big first step to driving. Teach drivers’ safety to your children early on with these signs:

These signs are great for dramatic play and teaching vehicle and pedestrian traffic safety. The signs may also spark a conversation about safety. You could use the signs to create a safety town: Place the signs along the bike path and the children will love coming to a screeching halt to avoid a collision or a traffic ticket. Children will enjoy talking about safety and ways to ensure it on their “roads.” The possibilities are endless!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cycling Fun!

Summertime offers an abundance of opportunities: water fun, outdoor play, barbeques, fireworks, and more. What else is ubiquitous in the summertime? Tricycle riding! It is fun, it is inexpensive (once you’ve purchased your cycle), it is “green,” and it makes for some great memories.

Another great thing about cycles is that they do not require much preparation. Grab your kids, trikes, and some sunscreen, and you’re set!

Karen Miller, author of The Outside Play and Learning Book, offers some fantastic ideas for tricycle play:

· Angle parking: paint lines on the sidewalk to look like parking spaces. Encourage children to park their tricycles in the spaces without going over the lines or bumping the tricycle in the next pace
· Staying on the road: draw a road with chalk for the tricycles on your sidewalk area. Put in curves and corners. Challenge children to ride the tricycles without crossing the chalk lines
· Obstacle course: with the children’s help, mark out a course for the tricycles using milk cartons or cones. Use chalk to make a line indicating where riders must go (this line could be straight or zigzag). Children must ride their tricycles and maneuver the course without knocking over the obstacles (Miller, 1989, 66-69)

On Thursday The Adventurous Child will add something fun to the driving mix to teach children about safety on the road. As always, we understand if you’d like a head start… just click here!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Food for Thought

There are some who argue that the benefits of early childhood education disappear by third grade. Steve Barnett, co-director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) replied to this claim:

“Absolutely not! A new NIEER study that provides an objective summary of all the research on preschool education’s effects finds substantial positive effects on achievement, special education, grade retention, and social behavior at ages 10 and higher. This is really the last nail in the coffin of the idea that preschool effects disappear at third grade. If you look at all the research – don’t cherry pick for results – it shows that long-term effects are robust even if smaller than initial effects. The idea that preschool effects fade out by third grade originated with one flawed study in the early 1960s, and this belief continues to be propagated by those who cite a few methodologically weak newer studies.”

So, the next time you’re wondering if you are making a difference, rest assured: You ARE.

Monday, August 9, 2010


The Adventurous Child understands that when it comes to learning, you need a lot of choices for kids.

Having an outdoor Nature and Science Learning Center is a fantastic way to encourage different types of learning, and by proxy, will lend itself to different types of assessment. Some of the activities child will be able to accomplish and enjoy include:

· Use the magnifying glass to observe small objects and describe them by journaling
· Draw pictures and scribble to generate and express ideas
· Use new vocabulary picked up from these experiences (“soil,” “insects”)
· Grow plants from seeds in the garden box
· Observe and then sketch the root system of a plant using the root garden

An example of this can be found at The Adventurous Child’s page on nature and science.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Research indicates that people learn in different ways (Pashler, McDaniel, Rohrer, & Bjork, 2008). Some prefer instructional manuals, others need auditory coaching, and still others require hands-on training. If this is true for children, then it’s only fair that their instructors and care providers assess them in different ways as well. Outdoor classrooms can provide new opportunities for learning and for assessing during planned and free choice playtime.

The Adventurous Child is committed to outdoor learning environments and products that promote developmental milestones for children ages six months to six years through evidence-based principles of play. Whether your kids are learning the letters of the alphabet or how to connect words to sounds on the literacy gazebo, or they are dropping a ball through the tracking panel to learn about speed and observe different shapes, our outdoor play equipment encourage many different types of learning!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


“Assessment is a comprehensive process. It can measure many aspects of learning…. Assessing only in one way or in one context does not tell us the whole story. We need to consider the many ways children learn and the many ways they can show what they know” (Hughes & Gullo, 2010, p. 58).

Reading this article has given The Adventurous Child a lot to think about. At your pre-school or day care, how do children learn? Do they learn by lessons, interaction with instructors and classmates, or perhaps another way? What kinds of opportunities do you give them to show you what they know?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cause and Effect

If you were to sit down with a group of toddlers and preschoolers, and announce that you will be spending the morning discussing cause and effect relationships, perspective, and self awareness, what sort of responses would you receive? Probably some blank stares and a total lack of interest.

But if you were to take the children outside, and allow them to stand in front of a mirror, what would happen? The children would enjoy studying the reflection of their bodies in the outdoor mirror, as well as the things that surround them. By looking at the mirror, they will be learning:

· Cause and effect (if they move their bodies, the mirror will reflect those movements)
· Perspective (their size will change depending on their distance from the mirror)
· Self awareness (viewing themselves in a new context)

Visit The Adventurous Child here to learn more about the mirror panel and what children will learn by playing with it - or should we say, in front of it!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Food for Thought

These quotes came from the late Jim Greenman. He was a Head Start teacher and director, author, and parent educator, who valued children’s vital need for play spaces:

“It is a strange time. We live in an age when our children may know far more about bizarre people we care nothing about or a cartoon world than the workings of their own back yard – that marvelous ecosystem teeming with life. They may know more about, or rather have more information on, exotic zoo animals and farm animals than the snails, squirrels, birds, worms, and bugs that live outside their windows.”

“Young children are perpetual tourists without much life experience, truly strangers in a strange land. They are developing their minds and bodies at such a rate that they are literally new people with each sunrise. Their backlog of life experience is so slight that each day, each new place, each old place, brings surprises. Their courage rises and falls like the tides.”

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Water Fun

SPLASH! These hot days make me think about the pool… the ocean… even a jumping puddle would be nice!

Sheila Milnes from Pennsylvania State University is a huge proponent of water play for children. She explains that water play can improve children’s physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development. For example, water is a fantastic way for children to learn about scientific principles such as sinking, floating, melting, solids, and liquids. Add manipulatives, and the young scientists can observe and explore the physical properties of water, snow, ice and other sensory items.

A water table will offer multiple opportunities for learning and play.

According to Milnes, there are three stages of water play: functional, constructive, and dramatic. In functional play, a child plays with water and explores it with his senses, realizing what can be done with it. In constructive play, “children move from exploring water to using it for play--for example, pouring water over a toy person and pretending he is taking a shower.” When children begin using water to act out a story, they have moved into dramatic play. As the children move from one stage to the next, their physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development will improve. A water table will lend itself to all three stages of play, with fun and learning at every stage!

Check out The Adventurous Child for more information on water tables and neat ways to use them.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Adventurous Child Digs In

If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder … he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in. – Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

As we talked about last time, gardening with kids is totally do-able. It’s just a matter of education, preparation, and just a little patience.

There are a lot of options when it comes to gardening. A mini garden allows children to access all sides of the garden to plant seeds, pull weeds and water the plants without actually stepping into the garden. (Great for staying neat.)

They can dig, plant, nurture and harvest a variety of plants. This is the perfect size for planting some flowers by the front door; or planting vegetables that the children can grow and eat for a healthy snack.

Speaking of “yum,” why not consider adding a pizza garden to your facility? Make a delicious pizza to share by growing pizza herbs, onions and tomatoes.

Have you ever wondered about the underground world of roots, worms, and insects? Jump into that world with a root garden! Children can learn about the growth process as they plant seeds, water, weed and harvest the “crops.” Periodically, children can open the Observation Doors and study the underground world of the root garden.

Check out The Adventurous Child to learn more about our gardens!

Gardening Tips for Children

“The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil” – Rachel Carson

These summer days, full of ripened fruits and vegetables in the farmers’ markets and grocery stores, have us thinking about planting our own garden. This is absolutely something you can do with your children!

Stephanie from The Adventurous Child is our go-to garden expert. Here are some of her tips for exploring nature with children:

Teach them the ground rules for exploring nature and gardening
Take only things that won't harm the environment
Avoid picking wild flowers and breaking branches
Plan for your garden
Will you plant things you can eat?
Will you plant flowers to beautify?
Consult with Drug and Poison Control about your plant choices
How much sun will the area get?
How close is the water source?
Will the garden area be safe from the mainstream of play traffic?
Limit the duration of the task
Work with small groups
Wear old clothing

Stop back on Monday to find out what gardening products we carry. Of course, if you’re really itching to pull out your shovel and soil, click here for more information.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Gardening: Green, Fun, and Educational!

Home gardens are making a comeback in the United States. Everyone from the First Lady to moms, dads, and teachers on the home front are planting flowers, vegetables, and herbs. There are a lot of reasons for this. Partly, it’s a great lesson in economics and saving money by growing your own food. Gardening is also full of teachable moments about healthy eating. Finally, it’s just plain fun.

Victory gardens were all the rage during World War II. This was due to the shortage of public food supply, as well as an effort to boost public morale. Today, “victory” gardens (fruits, vegetables, and herbs) are a fantastic way to teach children how to be “green,” economical, and nature-oriented.

By introducing children to the wonderful world of gardening and to the intricacies of nature, you will open their worlds to new ideas and experiences. Is there a greater gift?

On Thursday I will share some tips for gardening with children from our in-house expert, Stephanie. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Music: Xylophone! (Part 4 of 4)

Recently, one of my co-workers was reminiscing about her musical toys as a child. She had a small xylophone about 12” long. It was the perfect size for her to play with by herself, but imagine if she’d wanted to share her instrument with others! This xylophone is 32” long – perfect for sharing with a couple friends, if you’d like. As the children strike different bars, they will learn about cause-and-effect as well as how to make patterns of noise.

Check out The Adventurous Child for more information on this xylophone and other neat musical instruments.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Music: Chimes (3 of 4)

Chimes are truly captivating. They may not be as familiar as drums or violins, but they still feature prominently in music. You may recognize their sound from the popular song “Carol of the Bells” or from the end credits of Sesame Street in the 1980s.

These particular chimes make for tons of fun standing alone, or you could add them to The Adventurous Child’s drum panel and drum set for a mini orchestra. The Chime Panel has a full scale of eight notes that allow children and adults to play a song and sing along. Children can hear contrasting sounds as they hit each note. What a great lesson in sound imitation!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Music: Drums! (Part 2 of 4)

Watch your children have fun with the drum set and drum panel. The drum set has three drums with varying lengths that produce contrasting bass tones, making hitting them an interesting lesson in sound differentiation. The drum panel has long and short tubes to provide contrasting sounds to each other. The drum head is made of an acrylic material that is unbreakable. Two mallets are provided, but the children can also play the drums using their hands or objects found on the playground.

Drums are fun, but they are also educational: “Children’s personal tempo (ability to feel and express a steady beat) correlates with achievement test scores in grades 1 and 2 (Weikert et al, 1987)” (Parlakian and Lerner, Young Children, March 2010, p. 17).

Beware: it may not be enough to simply watch your children hit the drums. We won’t laugh at you if you make some noise, too. (Our fun-loving group at The Adventurous Child has been known to play the drums for stress relief occasionally.)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Music (Part 1 of 4)

"Music gives a soul to the universe,
wings to the mind,
flight to the imagination,
and life to everything."

~ Plato ~
Music is all around us: the radio is on during your morning drive to work, music is in the wind and trees outside, it’s in the humming of a child as she swings, and it’s in the steady beat of an infant learning to clap. Music is one of the most ubiquitous phenomena in nature, and it’s also frequently overlooked as a learning device for many subjects.

In the next few weeks we’re going to talk about the importance of music in outdoor education for children six months to six years old, and how The Adventurous Child can supply your outdoor classroom with musical equipment for play and for learning.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fine Arts

Here at The Adventurous Child, we get really excited about learning. We get especially excited about the fine arts (think music, creative play, and visual arts) because they’re just so much fun! Who doesn’t have memories of finger painting, musical instruments, and acting out plays when they were little?

Every so often, our blog will examine a different kind of fine art. First up: music!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Assessment is ... Continuous (Part 3 of 3)

A lot of our products at The Adventurous Child, which we built with state early standards in mind, are useful for assessing children. For example, our balance beam will help them develop balance and coordination through outdoor play. Moreover, the ability to step from narrow beam to narrow beam requires a greater skill level than just walking on a standard preschool balance beam. Watch your children's understanding in gravity and enjoyment of motor and sensory experiences increase as they move up the incline plane balance and step to the level beam!

Our stepping pods are another great way to monitor children's physical development. While crossing the Playground Stepping Pods, a child’s brain, eyes and feet all have to work in accordance with one another to move from lower pods to higher pods and back, and to step from a small object to another small object. Aside from assessing development, this is fun, too!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Assessment is … Continuous (Part 2 of 3)

At The Adventurous Child, we understand that assessment is not only happening at the end of the semester or year. Teachers are constantly assessing their students’ progress. Assessment can also take many forms: it can be the teacher and his state-mandated report card, or it could be the day care center instructor monitoring her children's social, emotional, cognitive, and physical milestones daily.

In a few days, we’ll show you some of our products that will assist you in assessing children’s developmental milestones. Of course, if you’re too excited to wait, here’s a sneak peek.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Assessment is ... Continuous (Part 1 of 3)

Here’s some food for thought!

Kim Hughes and Dominic Gullo from the magazine Young Children wrote about assessment:

Assessment is a continuous process. Ideally, assessment describes the progress of a child’s learning not just after a single test but over time. There is no beginning, middle, or end to learning, so it follows that assessment of children’s learning should not be limited to measurement only at the end of an instructional unit” (Hughes & Gullo, 2010, p. 57-8).

We at The Adventurous Child want to know… how do you assess your children?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Welcome Back!

Hi, everyone. It’s been a while since we last chatted. Springtime is busy at The Adventurous Child and at our Outdoor Preschool Store, and we bet it’s busy for you, too. School is winding down – or over for the summer – and teachers are busy filling out end-of-year report cards and assessments for their students.

If you’re a teacher, parent, student (or former student), then you know the importance of assessment. Teachers strive to evaluate their students as fairly as possible, but it can be difficult to know what “fair” assessment is. Kim Hughes and Dominic Gullo wrote a fascinating and effectual article about assessment in the May 2010 issue of Young Children. The authors examined the importance of assessment, describing it as continuous, comprehensive, and integrative.

In the next couple weeks we are going to look at how The Adventurous Child’s products and play structures will not only create fun and educational opportunities for your students, but will offer you innovative ways to assess them as well.