A few weekends ago Teresa and I attended a conference in Kiripaka, Whangarei. It was situated in a beautiful area of ancient native forest. The woods are a small part of Pukepoto farms, which has been in family ownership and guardianship for several generations since 1898.
The conference was for early childhood and primary teachers with a focus of ‘connecting to nature’…
Here at Albany Kindergarten we have been reflecting upon how we empower and invite children to connect to nature. We believe that through positive experiences with nature, this sets the stage for a lifetime commitment to caring for the earth, animals, and our communities.
Children will often find ways to connect with nature on their own by exploring a muddy puddle with leaves and sticks etc. Even in urban environments, children can experience nature in many ways. Weeds grow in sidewalk cracks and sunlight makes amazing shadows on the ground. These are things just waiting to be discovered.
The strands of Te Whāriki our early childhood curriculum document states the importance of fostering links with the natural world.
Mana Aotūroa (Exploration) – of relationships; of natural materials; of the senses.
Mana Reo (Communication) – of the emotions of empathy, loving, sadness, fear, joy, surprise and wonder.
Mana Whenua (Belonging) – feeling a sense of place where there is familiarity and security; knowing the unconditional love from teachers, family/whānau; having the child’s first language and culture acknowledged.
Mana Atua (Wellbeing) – good health promoted; emotional well-being nurtured; safe from harm.
Mana Tangata (Contribution) – equitable opportunities; affirmed as individuals; relating to others; peaceful ways are best.
We hope that you will have lots of opportunity to ‘connect with nature’ this summer with your family….
We wish you a fun filled and safe Xmas holidays and we will see you back in the New Year.
From the team at Albany with Aroha…
“If a child is to keep his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.” – Rachel Carson