Exploring the natural world with your pre-schooler is one of the very best ways to spend quality time with them. This is something we are very passionate about at Bethlehem College Kindergarten.
For parents, there are obvious benefits that come from getting your kids into the great outdoors. They get a much needed break from screen time and burn off a lot of energy in the process, making them more settled for the rest of the day.
But there are deeper reasons why it is worth spending quality time with your pre-schooler outdoors. Research has shown that spending time in nature enhances children’s emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
We find that children who spend time in nature will often:
- Develop a sense of spiritual connection with the natural world.
- Have a sense of care and stewardship for the earth.
- Learn compassion for animals and other creatures.
- Become natural scientists; observing, learning and collecting.
- Become more peaceful, grounded and centred.
- Have a sense of belonging to and being part of something larger.
Christian spirituality affirms that nature is alive with the life-giving and sustaining grace of the Creator.
We believe that when children develop a relationship with the natural world, the ‘aliveness’ of creation touches their minds and hearts, and forms them spiritually. Facilitating connection with nature is an important part of raising healthy children who have a sense of belonging, purpose and meaning in an increasingly dis-connected, technology-driven world.
Group Nature Walks at Kindy
At Bethlehem College Kindergarten, we often take children for nature walks around the college campus. We take our time, pausing to take a closer look when something captures a child’s interest. They come back with collected little treasures of dried leaves, sticks and other discoveries.
When we take busy, active children out for a nature walk, we can physically see changes in them as they get outside. They are calmer; there’s a peace that comes over them. Having used up their energy constructively, they settle into their routines better for the rest of the day. They come back from nature better people and in a better head space!
Go on a Family Nature Walk This Month
We encourage every parent reading this to take their young child on a morning or afternoon nature walk over the next month. When you are outside walking a nature path, there’s nothing else to do, so your relationship with your child has time to flourish. It’s quality time – time for conversation, time for being together, time for enjoying something beautiful together.
Tips for Parents
- Focus on the journey, not the destination.
- Let your child follow their fascinations; stop to look closely at whatever catches their eye.
- Take water and fruit with you for rest-breaks. Be sure not to leave any plastic or paper and talk about the importance of caring for nature by not littering.
- Your child can probably walk further than you think they can!
- Take a little bag to collect treasures in. When you get home, use these treasures in an arts and crafts project.
- Take YOUR chance to slow down and connect with nature and to enjoy unhurried company with your child.
“Not all who wander are lost.” ~ Tolkien
BETHLEHEM COLLEGE KINDERGARTEN
At Bethlehem College Kindergarten you’ll find happy children in a nurturing environment, enjoying genuine relationships with caring teachers who facilitate creative play and quality learning experiences.
Come and See For Yourself
In the meantime, check out our teaching philosophy, our learning programme and discover four good reasons to send your child to our childcare centre.
To really get a good feel for the wonderful sense of community your family will enjoy please visit our Facebook page.
I look forward to meeting you and your child!
Clare van Niekerk | Head Teacher