Did you happen to watch Gardening Australia on Saturday evening? They did a special on children’s gardens and gardens for families, and the episode really resonated with me. So much of what they were talking about is what we are trying to achieve at Flinders. Costa went to Kings Park in Perth and played in their natural play space, and the way he talked about risk, imagination and natural play was so exciting. The school in Melbourne was truly inspiring; the beautiful plantings, use of open ended space, access to loose parts and consideration for ‘outdoor rooms’ are all brilliant examples of natural, flexible outdoor play. The biggest thing I was excited by was the fact that the broader community is starting to talk about the importance of natural spaces and appropriate levels of risk for children. Natural play spaces provide children with opportunities to explore creative, open ended play, to assess and take risks, and to build a relationship with the natural world. These are the kinds of things research is showing to be best for children’s learning and development, and these are the kinds of environments all early childhood services (and the broader community, for that matter!) should be providing for children. You can catch the episode on iView here: http://www.abc.net.au/iview/#/view/39659 Catch it while you can, it expires in 9 days!
I’ve spent a fair bit of time working on a lovely post about numeracy and play at Flinders that has been discarded because in Adelaide it has finally started to RAIN! So we have begun implementing our winter play program. Now this is all becoming very familiar for the educators here at Flinders, but I think I had forgotten for a minute what a significant part of our program winter play is for the children. Especially the children who have only just started. So I help the five or so children who are ready to play outside get into their rain suits and put on their gumboots, get into mine, and off we go. As we we stand out in the rain, hearing it fall onto our hoods, I notice one child, Connor, looking at me intently. “It’s all wet” he says. “It is. It’s raining” I reply. “Do we need to wipe it down?” he wonders, and I reply; “No, you are in your rain suit, you will stay dry.” “Can I go in the sand pit?” he asks, eyes wide. “Of course! You can go anywhere you like!” I tell him. “Can I jump in the puddles?” he continues, and I nod again, smiling. With a swift intake of breath, Connor heads down the creek bed and straight to the edge of a puddle. He jumps, landing with a splash, and the look on his face is complete and utter delight. And this is the moment I realiseRead more