The Benefits of Nature Play for Young Children
It’s definitely no secret that nature play is an extremely positive experience for young children. Getting outdoors with plenty of fresh air and access to all that nature has to offer has a profound impact on a child's development, health and wellbeing.
Here in Sydney, the much-loved Centennial Parklands connects urban children back to nature. Their award-winning Bush School is their proud main offering—and it’s been engaging children in the wonder of nature since 2012. Using nature pedagogy—the practice of teaching and learning with nature—to formulate their program, Bush School brings holistic learning to the forefront of nature-based play; engaging the hands, hearts and minds of little learners.
Here’s why the benefits of nature play for young children are so profound.
Reinforcing the Connection to Nature
Ultimately, if we want children to be engaged in the natural world around them, it’s imperative that they spend time in nature from a really young age. And yes, that involves getting their hands (and feet, and arms, and probably their entire bodies) dirty from top to toe—but that truly is part of the magic.
Nature play improves every aspect of child development—from the physical to the social, cognitive and even emotional. Playing outdoors encourages movement, nurtures imaginations and fosters social connections, friendships and plenty of creativity.
Stepping away from Screens
In today’s society, children spend a lot of time on screens. As part and parcel of this, children are less engaged in the natural world, more sedentary and less holistic in how they are able to learn. Nature is fundamentally beneficial to wellbeing and physical and mental health—and embracing this is sure to have many positive implications for both children and their parents.
The Academic Benefits
According to a study by the National Wildlife Federation, nature play is found to offer a bounty of benefits that extend well into traditional classroom learning. These benefits include increased enthusiasm for learning, increased motivation, improved behaviour and higher test scores. What’s not to love?!
What Bush School is all About
This video gives a glimpse into what a day at Centennial Parklands’ renowned Bush School looks like. Their child-led philosophy engages every part of the child and complements traditional classroom learning.
Bush School at Centennial Parklands is a 10-week program for children aged 2.5 - 5 years old. Led by an expert team of education rangers, the program will inspire a love for the natural world through games, bushcraft activities, stories and more. Parents will also have the opportunity to receive training and advice on how to nurture and mentor their own nature child. Find out more here!
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