Nature/Forest/Bush Kindergartens are “popping” up all over the world as a result of research into children’s sedentary lives, leading to children’s social, physical and mental health becoming compromised.
Increased levels of urbanisation and the reduction of natural open spaces, combined with more time being spent indoors has affected the children of today’s amount of time spent engaging in and with nature.
Research suggests correlation between this diminished time and contact with nature and childhood health concerns such as increased signs of depression, obesity and diabetes (Louv, 2005)
“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks”
At Waverley Meadows Preschool, we value the influence of nature and the natural environment on children’s learning and development. During both our 3 Year Old (new for 2021) and 4 Year Old Kindergarten sessions, the children have the opportunity to venture out to Lum Reserve, just a short walk from the Kinder. Here, the children have large amounts of uninterrupted time in a natural outdoor setting where they can play, explore and experience the natural systems and materials found there.
Engaged outside in all types of weather, the children and educators investigate natural phenomena and learn about the place in which they live.
“Teaching children about the natural world should be treated as one of the most important events in their lives”
What happens at Nature Kinder?
Exploring and playing in mud!
Muddy puddles provide endless opportunities for learning and at Waverley Meadows, we embrace the winter months at Nature Kinder. Not only are muddy puddles fun to jump in, but they provide opportunities to investigate the depth of the water, the size of the puddle, our reflections and so much more. Muddy puddles invite lots of imaginative and creative play.
Nature Kinder invites lots of risky play and gives children the opportunity to undertake risk in a safe and controlled environment. There is no better way to encourage children’s risk taking and coordination skills than with climbing tree! Tree climbing is undertaken after careful and thoughtful discussions with the children about which trees to climb and size of branches.
Building stick cubbies:
Open ended, natural spaces invite creativity and sparks imagination in children and building stick cubbies is always a popular choice at Nature Kinder. In developing an appreciation and respect for nature, the children are taught to only use the sticks and twigs that have fallen onto the ground. The children select areas for their stick cubby and begin by leaning branches/stick against a trunk or fallen tree. Building stick cubbies happens over multiple Nature Kinder sessions and becomes a project for the children each time they return.
Nature treasure hunts:
The Nature Kindergarten site offers opportunity for the children just to explore and find a range of different natural objects. Sticks, leaves, rocks, flowers can all be used in children’s play and incorporate maths and language skills.