- August 28, 2019
“Children are tomorrows leaders and their learning environments shape the social environment of our future!” Aphrodite Kapeleris
Children and natural learning spaces
Children need natural learning spaces where they can explore, develop and thrive. There are many reasons why children today are spending less time in the outdoors – from parents increased work hours to safety concerns, the reliance of technology to entertain children, and even the urbanisation of cities. This is a common trend worldwide and there has been much research highlighting the benefits of outdoor play for children. Everything from increased stress, poor communication skills, and poor concentration skills are all linked to a lack of outdoor play.
I have seen firsthand the value children receive from learning in nature, and it is something I am passionate about. Children’s learning experiences come from their interaction and engagement with their environment and people around them. Outdoor play at a childcare centre provides children with this experience even if they are not experiencing this in a home setting.
Outdoor play for children can teach them more than just increased health. Other benefits include; increased creativity, self-reliance, resilience, teamwork, a better ability to manage risks, deeper human to nature relationships, and even increased intellectual ability! Learning outdoors during childhood also can set the scene to establish positive lifelong lifestyle choices. Physical benefits include; better gross motor skills, eye hand coordination and a lessened risk of obesity. It also enables children to have sensory stimulation that is different to indoor play and allows children to learn via all their senses – seeing, hearing, touching and smelling.
One of the benefits that I love seeing with children is their increased awareness and understanding of the natural world. It sets the path towards their future care of the world in which we live – which I believe is essential. Children need natural learning spaces where they can explore, develop and thrive.
I’m a trainer at Kirana Colleges Australia
I have been an Early Childhood educator for over twelve years, working in a broad scope of services including out of school hours care, preparatory school and most recently in long day care. I was a director of a long day care service for the past 4 years and took over the role of operations manager overseeing three existing services and the opening of a fourth at the end of 2018.
I began with KCA in July 2018 and am an Early Childhood trainer. I have always been passionate about early childhood education and wanted an opportunity to inspire future educators to share in this passion. I believe that our children deserve he best possible start in life and to be a part of their development is an honour. The opportunity to share my experiences and knowledge, as well as my passion, with our students is exciting!
My advice to future childcare educators is to remember that the children they engage with throughout their career will one day be leaders within our community. The learning environments that they create will shape the social environment of our future!