At our little school we highly value play in nature. Whether it is exploring in our backyard or hiking through our local woods, there is always so much to discover.
Through experiences in nature, the children at Red River Early Learning Centre learn all of the “subjects” traditionally explored in the classroom and they develop essential skills such as risk management, problem-solving, resilience, and cooperation. Children hone their executive functions as they climb trees, leap from rocks, and explore leaves and tiny insects; executive functions are the skills that allow people to complete tasks, make plans, and organize.
According to Richard Louv, author of
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder “An indoor (or backseat) childhood does reduce some dangers to children; but other risks are heightened, including risks to physical and psychological health, risk to children’s concept and perception of community, risk to self-confidence and the ability to discern true danger.”
Beyond the individual benefits that the children experience there is a collective value to learning the importance of nature. We cannot care for the natural world if we don’t learn to love its beauty through hands on explorations. As we teach the children about the little creatures, flowers and trees we foster a love for the world around them which we hope will inspire them to care for it in the future.