Open the door and head for the playground! It's high-energy time and high time for your children to flex their young muscles by hanging on the monkey bars, pumping the swings, and climbing to the top of the slide. If you live in a part of the country where winter curtailed the amount of time your children could spend outside, now you'll all be bursting through the doors with unbounded enthusiasm.

But heading outdoors isn't only about freedom and exuberant play. In our cover story this month, Dr. Billy Gober discusses how children learn about their bodies and develop spatial awareness - as well as their muscles - through movement. You'll find ideas and activities for promoting motor development while making healthy activity a lot of fun. And Ellen Booth Church offers tips for successfully moving group time outdoors in order to enjoy some cooperative games in the wide-open spaces.

Our staff workshop this month is based on a teacher handout written by Lilian Katz. As you read her "Perspectives on Early Childhood Programs ," you'll be asking yourself some interesting questions to help you assess your program and your key relationships - with your children, their parents, and your colleagues. It's a good time of the year to look back at what you've been doing well and where you may need support to do better, now and in the future.

Something very special is happening this month too - in support of you. The first annual Child Care Professionals' Day will take place on April 24th.

Congratulations!

Susan Strecker

This letter originally appeared in the April, 1998 issue of Early Childhood Today.