Engaging with Nature
When children spend time exploring nature, whether in a local park, creek, backyard or within school grounds, they gain a multitude of physical, cognitive and social benefits:
As children observe, reflect, record, and share nature’s patterns and rhythms, they are participating in a process that promotes scientific and ecological awareness, problem solving and creativity. (Deb Matthews Hensley, 1999, Early childhood consultant)
Time spent in nature can be categorised into two components: structured and unstructured.
Structured time is characterised by a set way to do things, such as monitoring and field trips. NRM Education provides a broad suite of resources to encourage students to engage with the natural world. A summary of these resources can be found in our Engaging with Nature resource structure document.
Unstructured time is self-guided and fosters imaginative and creative interactions. Both elements are important for a child’s development and as a means of understanding and appreciating nature. For more information visit our natural learning spaces page.
An understanding and appreciation of nature is critical in helping us develop a meaningful connection and desire to protect it.