When Nature Play first started in 2011, one other company in the world was using the name Nature Play. Founder Clare Caro carefully executed the branding and positioning. Around 2013 something incredible happened "nature play" became a term to describe the activity of children playing in nature and/or providing children with natural materials to play with. The new term exploded into Early Childhood Education (ECE), Outdoor Education and beyond! Today a household term, many children benefit from adults being "nature play" aware and providing settings and materials that aid in the nature connection.
The article below was written in 2012, for KINDLING magazine. An article to explain what Nature Play (our organisation) provided to children, parents and carers engaging in our sessions.
Written by Clare Caro
Nature Play is… A platform for child-led play
‘Child-led’ is a term wide enough to encompass a range of adult-infant play dynamics, from the first steps of ‘unstructured’ play time to ‘uninterrupted’ play. Child-led play is about letting children 'go' to do what they need to do to learn and to grow.
In child-led play children take the lead following the play urges genetically coded into their developing bodies and brains. Whether they are deeply engrossed in their own world, or interacting and playing with other children, this type of play is a requirement to unfolding and developing human beings as ‘designed’.
As the adults and guardians of these young 'learning sponges', it is our job to support them when required - or requested - and to sit back to watch and wait as they discover, invent and explore.
Nature Play is… For all ages
During the first six years your child's brain operates in a pure download state. In these formative learning years they will be downloading EVERYTHING at forty million bits per second.
Simply by being out in Nature in all weathers and all seasons babies are amassing sensory-rich information about being a child in this place, on this earth.
Toddlers use their environment to evolve their imagination and creativity, and these essential building blocks for each child's future can only be gained through play. Nothing else can do it.
Nature Play is… Every week
Repetition makes connections stronger, so it makes sense to keep repeating the experience of being ‘surrounded by nature’ to create a love and first hand knowledge of nature and the earth that we live on.
Nature Play is… All weather
Nature offers a host of experiences and different weather is a large part of that; the sound of the wind in new leaves, the smell of wet undergrowth, the taste of wild blackberries. A change in conditions can provide a whole new play experience in the same spot.
Nature Play is… All seasons
The changing seasons can influence the mind and body. What better way to understand the seasons than to experience them, to observe them, to feel them, to be a part of them as much as they are you?
Nature Play is… Free
Nature is available to everyone; a first-hand connection to the earth is every child’s right.
Nature Play is free. By keeping this group free we are making it available to everyone in the area.
Nature is always there, nature does not 'close' for the day, and admission is always free.
It is our hope that our children will keep this close bond with nature they develop at Nature Play, and that they will pass it on to their children, who will pass it on to their children, and on and on...
In order for our children to bond with nature and the earth, they must spend time outside.
These words feature in the latest issue of KINDLING - The Journal for Steiner Waldorf Early Child Care and Education (Issue 22 Autumn/Winter 2012).
...take me back to the A R T I C L E S menu.