Nature Programme Fosters Wellbeing
Play and Learn children (from left) Cohen Daniels (3), Dominic Breese (3), teacher Helen Collins, Lena Walker (1), Eve Morton (4), Ella Bezett (3) and Jack Nicolaou (partially obscured, 4) have fun in the mud at the Fairfield Reserve yesterday.
Photo by Craig Baxter.
Otago Daily Times 28 September 2013
Stomping through mud in gumboots, Ella Bezett and Jack Nicolaou could not be happier.
Fellow group members were also happy to be climbing over downed logs and racing through the undergrowth.
For early childhood teacher Helen Collins, seeing her charges have fun outdoors has influenced her postgraduate research on outdoor education so much she has made a movie about it.
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A group of preschoolers can be found exploring Long Bay Regional Park every week, rain or shine.
They have no shelter except for what they build and no toys except for what nature provides.
Nature Kindergarten was launched on Auckland's North Shore at the beginning of 2014 and sees children spend their day outside, climbing trees, building huts, playing games and going for big walks.
Teacher and co-ordinator Harriet Brown says the only thing that stops Nature Kindergarten going ahead is a severe weather warning.
"The rainy days actually bring so much value because they bring puddles to jump in and windy days bring kites and leaves blowing everywhere."
Outdoor NZ September 2013
We live in an age where we are generally wealthier than past generations, but increasingly spend less time in the outdoors with our children. We are more urban, but less connected with our neighbours, less physically active, but more inclined to watch sports on television.
Our grandparents talk of walking miles to school every day. Now few parents let their children walk at all - the parent may be out jogging but the child is in the pushchair. Just three or four generations ago, most New Zealanders were involved in some form of physical labour - now the vast majority of us work inside.
We’re becoming increasingly sedentary, urban, and often live largely in our heads, our intellect, rather than fully inhabiting our physical bodies. Indeed many people avoid physical hardship – even mere exertion – at all costs.
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