This term, Trudi and Fay have been consulting with Mulberry Tree Childcare and Kindy at their long day-care and OSHC centres. A large part of the consultation process has been demonstrating to the educators how simple and engaging nature connection can be. Nature connection in our classrooms involves a lot of trust. Firstly, we have to trust that nature can provide interesting things to explore and do. Then, we must trust ourselves as educators. We have to believe that we have the capacity to be curious about nature and develop relationships with children that are surrounded by play and wonder. Educators must then also trust children. We need to trust that they are capable of learning through nature play, as well as interacting safely and respectfully with the environment and each other.
Goals and Projects
After engaging in observation and feedback sessions, we have developed goals for each centre to implement. We are now engaging in 5 week projects to practice nature connection together. These look different for every centre. Some examples include:
- exploring how educators can hold and resource different play types of children
- creating potions to make trees grow big and strong for the local birds
- playing with potions of minerals, plants and food
- exploring rope as a loose play part and experimenting with the power of our bodies
- observing how toddlers interact with natural materials using Piaget’s schemas
- building enclosure spaces for easily supervised hiding places
- creating intentional space for social play in older children
- creating a shared game book for rules and ideas for new and invented games
- going on a Bug Bioblitz to find out how many bugs are in the centre
- creating a tinkering space for ongoing creative and safe tool use
- making provision for rough and tumble play through superhero battles
- using nature in creative art as a practice of persistence through making beads
- exploring bee season plus native bees, building trust, food and homes
It has been a very exciting project to bring a different perspective to educators, helping them to focus on how children learn and play within nature.
You can read more about Educated by Nature’s work with Mulberry Tree here.