At Learn and Laugh we celebrated Nature Play week from April 14th-25th. Nature play is about promoting and encouraging children to see the natural environment as a place to explore, play and investigate. This helps to nurture an appreciation for the natural environment and develop environmental awareness, which is a key goal for children in our philosophy.
There are many benefits for children to spend time in the outdoors. Most of the time the outdoor environment can invite open ended interactions, risk taking, discovery, spontaneity, exploration and a greater connection with nature.
According to the Early Years Learning Framework “environments and resources can also highlight our responsibilities for a sustainable future and promote children’s understanding about their responsibility to care for the environment”.
At Learn and Laugh Hornsby, we engage with the natural environment in a multitude of ways. During Nature Play week, our 3-5 year olds went on a walking excursion to visit the natural environment of our community. On their excursion the children spent time finding different coloured flowers and leaves, trying to find one for each of the colours of the rainbow. We also spent time looking and listening to their surroundings to see what insects and animals we could identify.
One of the main experiences that happened with our 2-3 year olds during Nature Play week was creating a collaborative art piece using items they had gathered in our outdoor environment. Being in the middle of Autumn we had a large variety of leaves, sticks and bark to choose from. They then also used clay, a natural material to create prints with shells.
During Nature Play week our 0-2 year olds started working on a sensory garden in their outdoor space. They used Lomandra, which is a native Australian grass, along with small sandstone rocks, and blue glass pebbles. Once completed the children have since loved engaging in small world play. This has benefited them by providing an opportunity to nurture children’s imagination, while also developing an appreciation and care of the natural elements in their playscape.