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Child Care and Physical Activity

When I went to pick up Ben from the center yesterday, he was running outside, chasing his friends, with rosy cheeks and cold hands. Even though it was a bit chilly, I was thrilled he was outside getting some exercise. The center has to follow state guidelines about weather when deciding if they can get outside or not, but any day they have the green light, they go. There have been times that it rained for a week straight and they get on their rain coats and rain boots and take a walk around the office complex. If they can’t go outside, there is an obstacle course or bike path set up in the gross motor room.

Because this has been my experience, I was surprise to read this article about kids in child care not getting enough exercise. Are there really parents who think their 3 – 5 year old child should be studying the alphabet instead of enjoying time on the playground? And as a parent of a child with some physical challenges, I am concerned with his safety on the climbing structure, but I’ve simply asked the teachers to just make sure he doesn’t run off the edge. I would never ask them to have him sit or stay inside because I was afraid he’d get hurt.

Do you think this is more about the teachers’ energy levels at the centers included in the study? If it’s cold, they don’t want to go outside. If they are tired, they don’t want to host a dance party indoors when it’s below 32 degrees. Also, rather than making this seem like it’s the fault of child care centers, perhaps state departments or companies should take a closer look at funding and see where they can make safety or space improvements at child care centers.

Maybe Tiger Mom would disagree, but please don’t keep my child inside so he can read or write. Let him run and climb and jump whenever he wants.

As a side note, this is an interesting blog about the hidden skills children might be developing while out on the playground.

4 comments

  1. Ruth

    Ruth January 13, 2012 at 12:37 am

    Great post GreenMom

  2. Sarah January 13, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    LOVE THIS! We are on the same page on this issue. I really couldn’t care less about “academic learning” with the 3 and under crowd. At this age, the real learning is through social situations, exploration and problem solving. I am visiting several centers in the coming weeks (making some changes in our life and exploring some options) and I’m really interested to explore this topic, in particular!

  3. News Mom January 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I also think state licensing agencies need to revisit their regulations. Here in Massachusetts the regulations seem excessively restrictive when it comes to keeping children inside, especially in cold weather.

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