Nature Play SA’s General Manager Jason Tyndall presents regularly to educators, students and parents on the benefits of nature play and how to incorporate it into everyday life at school and home. Jason explores the benefits of mud play and celebrates the wealth of learning potential this sensory-rich medium has to offer.

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Welcome to our Term 2 Member’s Lounge Spotlight.

 

Each term, we proudly share a new suite of resources to support you, our members, with inspiration, tips and guidelines for ‘all things’ nature play and outdoor learning. This term, our focus is to educate and inspire with a range of resources about place-making, play spaces and outdoor learning.

 

Whether you’re looking to reimagine tired or neglected spaces, transform native garden spaces that attract butterflies and at risk fauna, or create play opportunities which are missing from your spaces, these carefully curated resources can provide a roadmap forward.

 

Resources 1 to 4 – Focus on play space principles, design and the environment as the third teacher.

Resources 5 to 8 – Hear from experts in design and places to go for research.

Resources 9 to 11 –  Watch these videos to explore a low, middle and high budget approach to the transformation of spaces.

 

Our learning and play spaces must be responsive to the wants and needs of the children who occupy them. They should provide opportunities for meeting and collaborating and storytelling. Our schools and learning spaces should be a home of opportunity, places that create comfort and nourish children’s bodies, minds, and souls. The health and wellbeing of has never been more important. Recently, South Australian Education Minister Blair Boyer stated:

 

Wellbeing must be given equal focus to NAPLAN results following concerns about kids’ mental health“.

– (Adelaide Advertiser, April 30)

 

We know that both children and adults alike benefit from ‘green time.’ Time in nature is good for our bodies and even better for our brains. It also supports students to engage and academic achievement. These curated resources will support your venture to create meaningful spaces in your learning environment and help take learning outdoors, with positive wellbeing benefits being the outcome for all.

 

 

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Guidelines for Creating a Meaningful Natural Play Space: Nature play spaces are areas designed for children to play in free, open-ended ways. They should offer rich and diverse experiences that enable children to guide and master their own play experiences, play how they want to play, test their cognitive and physical capabilities, stimulate their senses, provide social interactions and independent play, and teach them about living things and how to care for them.

 

 

 

Go Further:

 

Check out our two-page Natural Playspace Principles. This document is an excellent starting point for students or school communities to begin the process of discussion around what spaces are present, missing, or in need of attention.

 

 

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When is a play space not just a play space?

 

When it is a teacher.

 

In this expert opinion piece, Paul Johnson challenges us to see our play spaces not just as environments but as educators that guide, shape and stimulate in their own right.

 

 

Go Further:

 

 

 

What Spirit Shall it Have? Explore how the intentionality of an environment’s design impacts learning and pedagogy. Consider the aggregation of marginal gains, how small, interconnected projects can activate dead spaces and help build and sustain learning communities.

 

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Where to Start and how to Make the Most of a Natural Play Space: Nature Play SA General Manager Jason Tyndall provides some guidance on defining and designing a natural play space with a series of ideas that he regularly presents on, has been involved with, or has observed in other settings.

 

In this overview he stresses the need for a site to involve their whole community so that the space meaningfully reflects the thoughts and expressions of children.

 

 

 

Go Further:

The team at Green Adelaide have created a Coastal Gardens and Adelaide Gardens planting guide so you can research and plan you own native garden space.

 

 

 

What Are The Seven Cs?

“Seven Cs is an informational guide for early childhood educators, designers, administrators, and parents.1 The goal of Seven Cs is to
help people design outdoor play spaces that support the development of young children

and integrate the unique qualities of playing outdoors. The guide should be used in concert with existing codes, safety regulations, and design guidelines.”

 

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Nature Play Every Day, Every Child: How Listening to Children can Influence Authentic Outdoor Learning Experiences: With a whole-school approach in mind and an active student voice, Snowtown Primary School principal Trish Boschetti and upper primary teacher Daina McCormack share their school’s nature play journey and explain how the site has evolved into a hub for outdoor learning.

 

2019 saw collaborative learning across sites to evolve a nature play space.  A collaboration with Bute Primary School for Junk-Yard play sessions allowed students, teachers and school community members to collaborate with other nature play focused schools and inspire an evolving nature play space.

 


 

Go Further:

 

Check out this two-page Natural Playspaces: Getting Started guide which touches on consultation, design, and documenting your journey.

 

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Learning Outdoors Benefits and Risks: Outdoor learning environments provide opportunity for students to engage in open-ended, diverse and meaningful learning experiences that are connected to nature, while also being connected to curriculum.

 

Outdoor learning spaces are also a feature of Australian learning environments. They offer a vast array of possibilities not available indoors.

 

Play spaces in natural environments include plants, trees, edible gardens, sand, rocks, mud, water and other elements from nature. 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.

 

 

Watch:

 

 

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