In our centre we embrace the broad research that supports the value of children being out in nature. It is recognised that when children have repeated opportunity to interact with the natural world they are provided with rich educational opportunities that enhance their overall development and provide wonder, wellbeing and calm.
The children in our centre have regular opportunity to walk to, explore and play in our beautiful local natural spaces. We employ extra educators and welcome family members to ensure children are safe and well supported as we explore the local bush and beach foreshores.
We recognise that historically children often played freely outside in nature and if most adults think back to their younger years they remember fondly long periods of time spent outdoors. This was a source of great entertainment, joy, learning and freedom.
We value greatly the importance of play to children and understand that it is essential to child development. Children learn by constructing their own knowledge about the world, not by memorising facts. Children’s curiosity with the natural world and unique way of knowing requires discovery and exploratory learning.
Research is clearly substantiating that an affinity to and love of nature, along with a positive environmental ethic, grow out of children’s regular contact with and play in the natural world (White 2004).
What concerns us is that generally children of today have fewer opportunities to have regular contact with the natural world. Studies show children are spending significantly longer periods of the day indoors as compared to their parents. In addition to this children are often spending substantial time on screen based recreation, where the virtual world is replacing the real world in children’s lives. Research indicates the imbalance this can cause in children’s mental, language, social and physical health, including the effects on eye health when screen based use is not regulated.
It is our passion at Pelican Waters Golden Beach Kindy to promote children to be in wonderful natural play spaces that allow them a range of opportunities to understand, appreciate and benefit from mother earth and their natural world.