Washington State Legalizes Outdoor Preschools
Washington has become the first state to license outdoor preschools. While these nature-based alternatives to conventional childcare facilities are growing in popularity across the nation, they haven't had the same legal status as indoor spaces. This limited their ability to offer full-day programming and to offer subsidized spots to low-income families.
If outdoor preschools become more common, then hopefully outdoor classes will become more accepted in later grades, too. A 2018 study found that teachers could hold their students' attention for twice as long after teaching a previous class out of doors; it seems the experience of nature settles and calms the students, making them more capable of focusing and engaging with schoolwork.
Nature is a powerful learning tool on so many levels, and educators would be wise to work with it, rather than against it. Washington's decision to legalize outdoor preschools is a profound acknowledgement of that.
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