After being enveloped in the safety and familiarity of their homes for so long, we could only imagine how daunting it would be for our children to contemplate emerging from the comfort of their loved ones and venture back into a drastically changed world. It was vital for us to maintain our children’s happiness, to welcome them back into their home away from home and most importantly, to prioritise their wellbeing. With all that in mind, we enriched our outdoor learning environment and bought nature back into our setting.
Our desire was to create a positive and lively outdoor natural environment that would provide cheerfulness and promote endless curiosity. We sowed seeds into raised beds and created vibrant flower planters out of old tyres. Multi-coloured gardening tools were placed invitingly along ledges, ready to be used by busy little hands.
The children showed keen interest in their little green garden. This curiosity encouraged them into exploring new textures and developing fundamental gross motor skills as a result of using new tools. Valuable lessons were learnt as we followed the progress of the plants and watched them grow from seedlings and evolve into blossoming stalks. The children passionately exhibited their flourishing plants to parents on their way home, enthusiastically pointing out their favourite herbs and vegetables, describing how excited they were to choose their favourite watering can tomorrow.
After a fortnight we noticed progress we could never have imagined. Children were experimenting confidently with new foods, the marvellous result of all their hard work. They described the textures of crunchy radishes and discussed how healthy their bodies were going to be as now, “…the germs will go away!”. We saw them embody love and patience as they discovered ladybirds and insects thriving in the flowerbeds.
Newfound confidence shone in the children as we witnessed our safe open environment had encouraged abilities such as independence and responsible behaviour to emerge. The children had truly bloomed after adapting to the new normal, calmness was learnt, and happiness had been elevated across numerous areas. Upon reflection, the yearning for nature was the thing that boosted our team into action and caused us to evolve from practitioners into nurturing carers.
This article has been taken from Little Learners, a FREE magazine full of early years resources and activities. Click here to read our latest issue and enter our exclusive competition.