Waterford West Education and Care Centre believes that Nature Play is fundamental to a full and healthy childhood. We provide nature play for all children to engage in outdoor play and learning and foster a love of nature.
Our Nature Explorer program to extend children’s connection with nature and the local community, fostering Environmental Stewards. We support children to engage in healthy risk taking and build independence and confidence. Through nature, we support children’s holistic growth and development through child led play and exploration.
We believe in supporting children to be outdoors more often so they can reap the benefits of unstructured playing, learning and being physically active. A growing body of research shows the physical, cognitive, and emotional benefits unstructured play delivers. Time spent learning outside and using natural resources supports creativity and problem solving, enhances cognitive functioning and improves academic performance. Nature play promotes health benefits, strengthening immunity, improving physical skills and movement and eyesight. It also reaps benefits for mental health and wellbeing, as nature builds resilience, confidence and reduces stress. Experiences in nature as a child also leads to environmental awareness and stewardship later in life.
“Nature pedagogy is the practice of teaching and learning with and in nature. It encompasses the importance of culture, community and the sustainability of our natural world. It fosters children’s holistic development and wellbeing through play and hands on authentic and meaningful experiences. The approach fosters a sense of wonder, exploration and discovery through inquiry-based learning that is child led”. - Nature Play QLD
Loose parts are a significant part of our outdoor learning environment. Loose parts play involves materials that can be moved, manipulated, constructed, rearranged, taken apart, put together, carried, combined, lined up, used alone and given a destiny that is determined by a child – rather than an adult, or fixed equipment.
Our loose parts consists of building materials, scrap materials, and any number of found objects. they could also be small natural objects such as stones, flowers, seeds, sticks, shells, pine cones and logs, as well as synthetic items such as balls, ropes, buckets, pots, fabric and boxes. The possibilities are infinite! Loose parts provide opportunities for unstructured, child-led play that could be used in endless play scenarios.