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Outdoor Play in a School Curriculum? Jemicy School Holds Unique Legacy of Outdoor ‘Fort Play’

October 23, 2008

BALTIMORE, Md., Oct. 23 /PRNewswire/ — The growing trend of rigorous academics and ever growing benchmarks in early-childhood education has led to a school day heavy in classroom instruction. Consequently, outdoor recess has been decentralized, and in some cases eliminated from the school day. This is not the case for the Jemicy School in Owings Mills, MD, which has proudly upheld outdoor play, specifically its exclusive “fort play,” as one of the most significant aspects of its curriculum.

Jemicy has created a thriving recess culture in the wooded “fort play” area behind its Owings Mills, MD campus. Emily Stanley, Head of the Lower and Middle School Science Department, has observed Jemicy students as they construct forts, explore the stream, and engage in a full-fledged economy of their making. Students build dams, create woodland gardens, and observe wildlife, while following the “Fort Treaty” – guidelines developed by students to respect all living things, to be friendly to one another, and to claim fort territory using systematic procedures. Jemicy is among only a handful of small independent schools nationwide who implement “fort play,” and one of the few who have maintained it for over 30 years.

Engaging in outdoor play allows children to socially interact with their peers, which fosters valuable problem solving skills and allows the opportunity to let their imaginations run free. Additionally, outdoor play engages them in physical activity that is absent while sitting at a desk, promoting the prioritization of exercise and overall health and wellness.

Jemicy students are able to play in a safe environment as they take the necessary break from classroom expectations. The outdoor, multi-sensory opportunities underscore the school’s motto derived from author Aldous Huxley, “it’s no good knowing the taste of a strawberry from a book.” Jemicy School is proud to uphold outdoor play as a vital role in the development of its students and will continue to implement interactive, direct experiential learning for years to come.

About Jemicy School:

Jemicy School provides a highly individualized, flexible, and challenging education for above-average to gifted college-bound students with dyslexia/language-based learning differences. Jemicy educates students between the ages of 6 and 18 on two campuses in Maryland.

Jemicy School

CONTACT: Colleen Riopko, +1-410-561-8886, colleen@barbclapp.com




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