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Getting up close to Nature

Photo from Dreams time

When looking at child development for children and there is nothing better than the freedom of being out in the fresh air and running free. However anyone who has worked in childcare knows that our play outside is also deliberately planned for fun and learning. The development for children with outdoor play and bringing in nature education is paramount. In the days of mobile phones and iPad it is a time when we leave them alone. Take the games, colouring pencils, paper and enjoy a freedom from technology.

Social development: Playing games together, whether it be ball games, I spy, or just little Olympics being together, team work, sharing and fun will all help children learn social skills

Physical development: encourage this by skipping, running, ball games jumping and even a lovely gentle stroll helps.

Intellectual & communication development: Even feeding the ducks :) talking about ducks where they live, what they eat, fascinating when you watch ducklings, nature of the trees, leaves, flowers and nature all around. As nannies we incorporate maths ( counting), colours of flowers and trees, word (Language) and then being able to repeat what they have learnt through creative work once home

Emotional development: A time to talk and chat without interruption, looking at nature and how it grows, how they feel and helping them with well being by offering a time to relax. This is a complex section in a child's development but it has been proven to help with mental well being to have a time each day to be outdoors.

Thinking about how simple it can be to provide activities to help children develop and grow I was delighted to read on line that there will be a national week of play in June on the Nursery world website. Here is their article and I hope many people will get involved.

National Week of play to focus on helping children build relationship with the natural world

Katy Morton Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Early years settings are invited to mark a national week of play in June, which will look at how children can protect the planet.

The theme of the The Early Years Alliance’s National Week of Play aims to inspire children to connect with nature

The Early Years Alliance’s National Week of Play, which is targeted at both those working in the sector and parents, will run from 13-19 June. In its second year, the week this time will focus on eco-sustainability and how by opening children's eyes to the ‘awe and wonder’ of the world through play, we can support their growing understanding of how important it is protect it. The event will aim to explore what role the sector can play in helping young children to build a lifelong relationship with the natural world. During the week, there will be a number of activities taking place including:

  • A podcast with Christina and Robbie Dee from the Forest School Learning Initiative, who will reflect on the many ways that ‘playful’ outdoor learning experiences can help children to connect with nature. They will also discuss how children can gain a sense of belonging as they come to understand, appreciate and care for the natural environment through first-hand experiences.

  • A range of tips, ideas and activities for early years professionals to try throughout the week.

  • Ideas and resources to encourage parents and carers to get involved.

  • A competition for early years settings to win a Modular Mud Kitchen from forest school and outdoor play specialist Muddy Faces worth £380.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said, ‘Play has a vital and irreplaceable place in childhood, and as early years providers, we have a unique opportunity to help encourage, inspire and educate young children on important topics, such as the need to protect the environment, through play. ‘Over recent years, there has – rightly – been a growing awareness of the importance of eco-sustainability, and so there has never been a better time to instil a sense of responsibility, and an understanding of our role in safeguarding the future of our planet, in our youngest children.’

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