Natural Resources and Play
Natural play resources are an integral part of the play environment within our Service. Studies have confirmed the benefits of utilising natural resources against potential risks that maybe associated. Such benefits include:
- Children who play regularly in natural environments show more advanced motor fitness, including coordination, balance and agility.
- Children build higher immune systems, therefore resulting in less sickness (Which we all appreciate!)
- Exposure to natural environments improves children’s cognitive development by improving their awareness, reasoning and observational skills.
- Children develop an affinity with nature and a positive environmental ethic when regularly in contact with natural environments
These spaces invite open-ended interactions, spontaneity, risk-taking, exploration, discovery and connection with nature. They foster an appreciation of the natural environment, develop environmental awareness and provide a platform for ongoing environmental education. Combined with collaboration with peers, educators and families, this environment can support and sustain interest and curiosity in our world and their role in it.
It allows them to risk take with support heightening the complex and increasingly abstract thinking in a way that digital technology cannot.
With all planned experiences, if risk is involved, we carry out a risk assessment to guide us on not only procedures but ensuring that the activity is age appropriate, allow for scaffolding and open ended interpretations. Educators are also regularly informed of changes to safety requirements from bodies such as Kidsafe.
If you would like some more information about using natural resources or risks in play, below are some useful websites for your perusal.
Early Childhood Australia: www.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au