Nature Ignites Imagination. Being with children in natural spaces is like reading the ultimate choose your own adventure story – there are expected pathways and the usual ‘narrative’ of adventure but the twists and turns are spontaneous and can take you by surprise.
This one day at a Mud Pies Nature Playgroup, a 4 year-old boy and a 5 year-old girl made a discovery. It was the start of the session, the transitional time where children and adults say hello to a space and allow themselves time to become comfortable in a new environment. After a discussion about keeping an eye out for living creatures, especially the small snakes and lizards that live in the scrub of the bushland, these two spritely adventurers discovered a dead ‘snake’ (later revealed to be a bobtail lizard). Camouflaged in the leaf litter of the tall eucalyptus that surrounded this intriguing specimen, the children proceeded to gather sticks, branches, bark and logs from the surrounding area (and twine form a nearby supply box) to make a fence so people wouldn’t step on it or trip over it. This became the ‘lizard skin fence’ and became the sole focus of the groups’ play in the space that session. It was also revisited fortnight after fortnight as the children tended to the fence, repaired the twine and observed as the skin transformed, shifted, changed colour and disintegrated into the earth.
When given access to natural spaces, spaces in which nature itself provides provocation, children can explore and discover. The elements they find are authentic surprises for them (and for the adults working with them). These opportunities empower children to make decisions for themselves based on real life experiences. They become resourceful and have the chance to use their inbuilt creativity and spontaneity as the inspirational platform for learning.
Nothing compares to the diversity that nature provides!
Educated by Nature runs Mud Pies Nature Playgroups in areas all across Perth for 0 – 5 year olds. You can find dates, locations and booking links for these and all of our other programs by clicking here.