Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, Singapore Botanic Gardens Photo: Llewellyn Wishart
Developing nature-rich outdoor environments for young children takes conviction, creativity, planning, negotiation, design sense and skills in early childhood pedagogy.
Early childhood educators here in Australia are being offered more and more professional development in this area with flow-on benefits for children, families and even practitioners working in early childhood education.
Some of my research and that of my team has shown children benefit in many ways from enriched natural outdoor spaces including:
- More varied challenges with movement and physical activity
- Enhanced manipulative and creative play with natural materials including foraging, picking of flowers, vegies, herbs and fruit.
- Calm, focused and flowing imaginative play
- Sensory rich learning
- Deeper understanding of life cycles and environmental change
The benefits also flow on to practitioners who also find these environments inspiring and calming to be in…