On September 15, 2018, 90 early childhood educators attended an Outdoor Play Workshop, where they learned to incorporate nature based learning into their daily practice. The workshop was hosted by Healthy Kids Community Challenge Hastings Prince Edward, in partnership with Hastings County, and was facilitated by Evergreen, a non-profit organization which is run out of the Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto.
The workshop provided opportunity for educators to network and build connections among early childhood educators. Participants learned how to facilitate nature walks, tell nature stories, make seed balls and incorporate loose parts like leaves, branches and wood into outdoor play. The intention of the workshop was to build capacity among local educators and establish a core group of advocates for outdoor learning.
“This event was an exciting opportunity for Childcare Practitioners to come together as a community to deepen our understanding of the benefits of connecting children with nature,” explains Juliee Harrison, Quality Initiatives Coordinator, at Hastings County Children’s Services. “Educators learned practical ideas to include nature learning in their childcare programs for all age groups. This was an incredible day of professional learning.”
“Wildwood Forest & Nature EarlyON programs believe that engagement in nature in the outdoors, is crucial to a child’s healthy brain development, and is essential for overall health and well-being,” says Donna Kaye, a local Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE) and certified Forest and Nature Practitioner with Family Space and Wildwood Forest & Nature EarlyON. Donna, who has been a long-time advocate for the benefits of outdoor play, explains that “the outdoors offers an optimum learning environment, while promoting a love of the natural world through repeated and regular nature play experiences.”
For more information about Family Space and Wildwood Forest & Nature EarlyON, please visit https://www.familyspace.ca/.