In our structured busy and technologically advanced lives, outdoor open-ended play ‘nature play’ is so important for children. Here’s why nature play is integral to learning at Shaws Preschool
Letting kids play outdoors and interact with nature is especially important in this time of the pandemic, where restrictions have meant that many children have replaced some of their outdoor time with screen time. When was the last time you let the kids climb trees, build a fort with twigs or play in the mud? Experts are recommending getting kids off their screens, and into the outdoors for ‘nature play’ where they can get creative in open-ended unstructured play. When kids are playing, they are actually learning – and one of the best learning classrooms is nature! If you are a busy parent you may not have time to incorporate nature play into your child’s day – which is why finding a school that does is so important. Shaws Preschool is a huge advocate of nature play and has incorporated nature and outdoor learning into its curriculum and ethos.
What exactly is Nature Play?
Nature Play involves activities that get children actively thinking either outdoors, or where the outdoors is brought into the classroom. Children get to explore things in nature, either in an unstructured way (climbing trees, building dens outside, watching insects) or where the lesson is taken outdoors.
Nature play significantly improves all aspects of child development – physical, cognitive, social and emotional. Exposure to nature play allows children to become more resilient, have self-confidence, show initiative, be creative and more. It encourages the motivation to learn, the joy of movement, it nurtures wild imaginations, experimentation, friendships, and social connections. Perhaps most important of all during the pandemic, nature play has shown to have a positive influence on emotional and mental wellbeing that can be long lasting.
At Shaws, there are plenty of natural spaces where the children have the opportunity to explore nature through hands-on learning:
1. The butterfly gardens: these are specially designed areas within the school gardens where children can enjoy a deep observation of plants, insects and natural objects. Kids will get to watch butterflies emerge from chrysalises which is a science lesson in itself! Children will be responsible for looking after the butterfly garden to ensure the butterflies keep coming back, laying eggs and completing the butterfly cycle. These hands-on experiences, teach children to nurture nature!
2. Outdoor sports: At Shaws children do sports twice a week with Little League Coaches and get to play outside in the fresh air. Physical activity and getting some Vitamin D from the sunshine is so good for growing kids plus doing sports teaches kids good sportsmanship and other emotional skills.
3. Outdoor classrooms: The teachers at Shaws love an opportunity to take the classroom outside. Who wouldn’t rather learn to measure using their feet, hands or bodies to check the distance between the sandpit and the mud kitchen?
4. Sandpits and veggie gardens for sensorial play: The sandpits are where the children stimulate their senses while building creeks, forming mountains while gaining an understanding of how the world works. Digging through the vegetable gardens is where children can learn how what they sow leads to what ends up on their table.
If you are excited about the prospect of letting your child learn through nature, why not see for yourself how Shaws Preschool manages to use play, sport and the great outdoors to help foster a lifelong love of learning in kids? Book a private tour or head over to the next Open House!
Shaws Open House: All the deets
When: Saturday 30th October 2021, 9am to 1pm
How: By appointment only! Contact Enrollment Manager Dana via email [email protected] or phone (Tel: +65 9789 2255). Book now to avoid disappointment!
Shaws Preschool, Multiple Locations: Mountbatten Road, Tanjong Katong/Boscombe Road, Katong Post Office, Braddell Heights, and Lorong Chuan, www.shaws.com.sg