When our Middle School teacher, Erika Daly, sent this picture from her Friday morning class, she wrote, "Hard to beat P.E. today!" Friday was a blue bird day in Sun Valley with fresh snow and cold temperatures, and our Middle School students took to the ice at Atkinson Park. Since the early days of Sun Valley Community School, playing outside—no matter the weather—has been a fundamental aspect of the Community School experience. It is good for all of us, to be sure, but research strongly supports that playing outside is vital for healthy brain development in children.
Outside Magazine recently posted a digital article entitled "It's Time to Make Childhood an Adventure Again" and wrote "America's kids are caught up in one of the largest mass migrations in human history: the movement indoors." At Sun Valley Community School we know that now, more than ever, we need to encourage, support, and provide ample opportunities for our students to get back outside. Scientists know that active endeavors in the outdoors as well as reflective time in the outdoors help chart new neural pathways and increase brain plasticity.
If you visit our campus in the winter, you will see kids of all ages playing outside. Our youngest Cutthroats in the Early Childhood Center will be decked out in the winter gear sledding on the playground hill; our 4th and 5th graders might be working on their snow cave village; our Middle Schoolers might be on the ice playing hockey or in the snow hunting avalanche beacons for practice. You will see that while we foster a rich and active life of the mind, we also encourage and support a rich and active life outdoors.