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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Taking the class outside

Congregation's preschoolers learn in the great outdoors

Wiggly little bodies sit on three levels of an amphitheater built into the hillside. They sing: "We thank you, Lord, for rain, sun, and weather, and for our creek, and that we are together." On this day, the San Marcos [Calif.] Lutheran Church Children's Center dedicated its outdoor education area. It also includes a creek, sandbox, garden and picnic tables.

Preschoolers dig in dirt at the outdoor
Preschoolers dig in dirt at the outdoor education area of the San Marcos [Calif.] Lutheran Church Children's Center. Children learn to problem-solve by touching, manipulating and experimenting at activity centers.
"The belief that learning only occurs indoors and that outdoor time is recess is a myth," said Karen Freeman, preschool director. "Outdoors ... is a classroom where children connect to nature. Our outdoor environment is purposeful where children can make choices in a structured environment. ... They learn to problem-solve by touching, manipulating and experimenting."

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