We support children’s natural curiosity and appreciation of the natural world by coaching children to handle each living creature with respect. We can support children’s understandings of each creature or plant’s needs, so children know how to best care for them. We assist children in returning worms to damp soil, sheltered from direct sunlight. If a stepping stone or rock has been moved to expose a crawling beetle or squirming worm, we aid children in covering the damp spot back up to ensure the integrity of that mini environment.
There’s nothing that delights a preschooler more than nature discoveries. Digging worms from the earth, holding them in the palms of their hands, children eagerly share these wiggly earthworm friends with their human friends. “They live in the dirt because that’s what they eat.” This gets us considering humorous scenarios of people living and sleeping on sandwiches, ice cream, and spaghetti!
We wholeheartedly believe in the value of providing children with opportunities to play, explore, and interact with the natural world on a daily basis—rain or shine. Rather than playing on a static, plastic, manufactured play structure, children balance on logs and stumps, re-arrange straw bales for hideouts or sailing ships, dig to their heart’s content in a large sand “lake,” build fairy houses beneath the camellia bush, pick rosemary or apples in the same yard where they play chase, and search for insects under rocks.
A natural playscape provides children with rich opportunities to connect with the natural world, strengthen their sense of wonder and joy, and ultimately nourish their role as stewards of the earth. We play outside daily, rain or shine.
“We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children’s memories, the adventures we’ve had together in nature will always exist.”