What is Nature Play?
Cradle to Crayons Education & Care is the first Forest Learning and Bush Kindergarten in the Wide Bay region and an official Nature Play QLD education provider. With our 14,500m adjoining nature block, we can provide unstructured play in the forest and help children develop healthy, active lifestyles.
Our educators plan lessons outside using the resources and lists available from Nature Play QLD.
Why is it Offered?
We believe that nature play is fundamental to a full and healthy childhood. Our mission is to work innovatively and collaboratively with Nature Play Qld to make nature play a normal part of childhood again and a normal part of our day here at Cradle to Crayons.
The key underlying feature of the Nature Play approach is that children spend long and regular periods of time in unstructured play in natural environments. Experiencing the daily and seasonal fluctuations of the weather, exploring the play affordances of natural environments, practising self-management skills and simply being in nature are essential to the Nature Play approach.
What benefits do children gain from these experiences?
- Experiencing their senses more fully
- Improving their physical and gross motor skills
- Better understanding and assessment of risk-taking
- Developing peripheral vision, body awareness and perception of space
- Enhanced communication skills
- Empathy, respect and group participation
- Greater responsibility for their own wellbeing and self-control
- Understanding the natural world in context
- Taking initiative in finding their own objects in play
- Engaging in games of fantasy and creativity
- Developing appreciation and respect for the environment
- And many, many more…
Nature Play is more than just taking young children outside to play in nature! The philosophy behind the program neatly aligns with the principles of Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (EYLF) (DEEWR, 2009) along with learning outcomes outlined in the EYLF. Learn more at https://natureplayqld.org.au.