THE REASON WHY?
Did you know that for children, play is learning? Nature play significantly improves all aspects of child development – physical, cognitive, social and emotional. They use the resources that surround them to explore their world. Playing outdoor grows resilience, self-confidence, initiative, creativity and more. Who wouldn't want to have bare feet, dirty hands and feel energised?
One of our key themes is to “to inspire children to take up a lifelong active engagement with the natural environment.” The children are able to discuss, be immersed in the physical changes to their environment, and map this according to what they already know or would like to discover. It removes any previous boundaries and opens possibilities across all ages. Children who are excluded from being outside tend to show high emotions and lose focus more quickly. As they grow these children lose all interest in or refuse to be outside, fostering unhealthy habits.
Outside play encourages children to explore, to experience a sense of wonder, to develop problem-solving skills, and to develop a shared respect for each other when they ensure their own safety and that of others.
Children at Woden Valley are free to climb, run, jump, crawl and orientate themselves through obstacles, and can do it all year round in our expansive play spaces. Children free to explore, build their sense of community and navigate their understanding of how to become an active member.
The Woden Valley connection to the environment and the community is built upon by the program delivered by Tyronne Bell and his colleagues at Thunderstone. They share their knowledge of the Aboriginal culture, encompassing land, animal, people, language and expression. They help us explore the messages and teachings that are present in our natural environment, helping to remove us from any simulated life. Each season and each landscape are seen as a new learning opportunity which can bring forward new information.
By encouraging children during their early years to see their own impact on the Earth and on each other, we are setting them and the environment up with a better future.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What happens when there is rain or extreme weather conditions?
We have many alternatives for children which can be used whatever the weather, and during extreme weather conditions. We have a bell tent, an inside classroom, workshop and art studio which can be used. We support the children to play outside during light rain, although we will take them inside when it is raining heavily, or if it is very hot.
What about snakes?
Snakes are part of the Australian landscape. Our staff are trained to assist children to be safe in the environment, to check for signs of snake activity and have them removed by experts when required. We provide snake bite first aid kits to staff when in the outside environment, such as on Nature Walks.
What to bring?
Children who join Nature Walks must wear closed comfortable shoes and weather suitable clothing. We also ask for each child to have their own water bottle and hat.
What if the child has an accident / incident?
If the child is involved in a minor accident, first aid can be provided to that child on the spot. In case of more serious accidents the child will be brought to the closest 'meeting point' and either taken to the hospital or back to the Centre by additional personnel.