Nature plays an important role in early years education, particularly at Key Stage one and Key Stage two, but frankly I would argue all the way through our human journey! The UK Education Department states that:
“active learning outdoors is beneficial to children’s physical, social and emotional wellbeing, as well as their educational attainment”.
This has led to the rise of forest school programmes in the UK which provide regular outdoor learning opportunities for young children.
At forest school, children are encouraged to take risks and explore the natural world around them. They learn about the different seasons, plants, trees, birds and animals in their environment in a fun and exciting way. It gives them the opportunity to develop key practical skills such as problem-solving and resilience – which helps them to become more independent learners.
Nature is a powerful teacher and it has the ability to nurture children’s curiosity, creativity and imagination. It provides an ever-changing environment where they can learn new things in different ways. Engaging with nature supports children’s development emotionally, physically, cognitively and spiritually – so it’s essential that we provide our young learners with every opportunity to connect with the outdoor world.
It’s time we embraced nature in our learning and gave children a chance to experience the natural wonders of the world around them, giving them spaces inside to share their experience of nature, stories, painting, and nature tables all support outdoor learning inside.
Let’s give them the tools they need to succeed and help create confident, inquisitive and resilient learners who value nature and are inspired by it.