A large chunk of our day at Little Gumnuts is spent outdoors and it is wondrous to observe the children at play.  We allow children to play in a large area where we are able to see them but they still have freedom of movement to explore and discover their environment, develop their physical skills, be self determining, assess risk and master challenges.  When they are clambering up a hill or over rocks, bending to walk under fallen trees and running in a large open space, their physical and emotional minds connect and they experience an increase in their confidence and self esteem.

The role of the teacher and parents while observing their play is to ensure safety, model curiosity and wonder and encourage problem solving.  When children are allowed the freedom to move around, their imaginations become active, they communicate with each other, make discoveries, which allow them to construct their own knowledge.

Some ‘bits and pieces’ are left around to stimulate their play - cardboard boxes, pots, pans, spades, fabric, water, sieves, pipes and anything that will provoke play.   We never know what games or adventures will evolve from what they find lying around.

Children’s spatial concepts are stimulated while outdoors; they stand at the top of the hill and look out over the park, they use binoculars and magnifying glasses to look at natural objects.  Their auditory senses are stimulated as they listen for noises in the bush and listen to the birds.  Children learn resilience, risk taking and grow in confidence.  We encourage a respect and love for nature and the planet to which we are all connected.

We may look out and see children running around ‘just playing’, the learning is enormous and I feel very privileged to be part of creating these experiences for young children.