Making mud pies in the mud kitchen, finding art supplies for an outdoor work of art, den making and baking afternoon snacks. At Nurture Outdoor Kindergarten you’ll find children between the ages of 2 to 5 years old donning waterproof dungarees, warm layers and a waterproof jacket venturing outside to experience play-based learning at its best – in the great outdoors.
I wanted to introduce to a movement in the UK aimed at highlighting the gradual disconnection our children are having with nature. In fact this was one of the great driving forces for Helen Reeve and myself setting up Nurture Outdoor Kindergarten (in Worcestershire). Most of us will have seen Richard Louv's book, Last Child in the Woods. He is one of many now starting to recognise that something is deeply wrong. In America, the Child and Nature Network operates under the vision of: "A world in which all children play, learn and grow with nature in their everyday lives." Meanwhile, in the UK, Project Wild Thing stands tall as the social organisation generating solutions and motivation for others to reconnect children with nature.
Have you ever noticed how, when you are out in an open space like a park, or as part of a walk, one of the first things your small child wants to do, is let go of your hand and tear off........? The open space is so exciting and being active is vital for your child's growth and development. However, we as parents almost immediately start to worry. What if they run out of sight? What if they trip and fall? What if they bump into somebody / something? What if.....?
As Early Years Specialists we are passionate about offering children rich, natural environments where they can have fun, flourish and succeed. Together with other early years experts we have been working hard to develop a new approach in early years education. Our Nature Nurtures approach is inspired by the philosophies of Scandinavian and German Kindergartens and promotes the importance of outdoor experiences for young children, because through nature we are able to engage their senses, inspire curiosity, awe and wonder, and fuel creativity and imagination - essential ingredients for exploration, learning and development.