Integrating Nature, Sensory and Adventurous Play in Early Childhood Environments: Webinar Recording

Webinar Summary and Recording [scroll down for video]

  • Topic: “Bringing the Outside In” – Integrating Nature, Sensory and Adventurous Play in Early Childhood Environments
  • Hosted by: Dr. Wendy Oke of TeachKloud.
  • Duration: Around an hour.
  • Structure:
    • 40 minutes (approx) of panel discussion with experts.
    • Q+A / closing remarks (live webinar only)
  • Who We Are – TeachKloud
    • “TeachKloud” is a childcare management app with unique features, such as “Educator PAL” enables educators to create learning opportunities linked to specific curricula and policies in under 20 seconds.
    • The TeachKloud app offers various features like parent communication, attendance, invoicing and accident forms. Learn more here.
  • Additional Resources:
    • Kloud Academy – E-learning platform for childcare professionals and parents.
  • Expert Panelists [click on each speakers name to learn more about them]:
    • Nicole Corbo founder of Roots & Sky Nature-Based Learning: A nature-based education consultant, with over 30 years of experience. Acknowledged that outdoor nature-based learning has been practiced by indigenous communities globally.
    • Katie Minor: Mother of five with 16 years in early childhood education. Recently started a nature-based programme named, Wonderforest School.
  • Key Discussion Points:
  • The Importance of Creativity: Katie mentions the significance of being creative when it comes to teaching and learning. This emphasis on creativity is a recurring theme in the field of education and pedagogy.
  • Nature-Based Learning in Washington: Nicole highlights that Washington has introduced licensure for outdoor, nature-based learning. This is a pivotal move, showing institutional recognition and support for nature-based education.
    1. Balancing Regulations with Nature-Based Learning: The idea is to know and understand the regulations governing childcare and education but also to understand that nature-based learning might sometimes challenge those regulations. Educators must find the balance between staying within legal boundaries and providing meaningful nature-based experiences.
    2. Using Nature as a Teaching Aid: Nicole brings up the example of the spider, showcasing how educators can use real-life examples from nature to educate students while also aligning with safety and regulatory requirements.
    3. Adjusting to Classroom Regulations: While nature provides raw, untouched materials, classrooms might sometimes require adjusted or ‘manipulated’ materials to meet safety regulations. Nicole emphasises the need for adaptability in this context.
    4. Shared Goals for Child Safety and Learning: Nicole reminds everyone that irrespective of their approach or perspective, the shared goal is the well-being and joyful learning of the child.
    5. Overthinking vs. Keeping It Simple: Katie suggests that educators shouldn’t overcomplicate things. The key is to have fun, let kids explore, and learn alongside them.
    6. Nature as the Primary Teacher: Nicole promotes the idea that nature can be the primary teacher, emphasising the value of nature-based education and encouraging educators to leverage the vast resources available in the nature-based learning movement.
    7. Confidence in One’s Abilities and Methods: Katie speaks to the importance of educators being confident in their expertise and methods, especially in the face of potential skepticism or opposition.
    8. Parental Concerns and Protective Stances: Wendy brings up a question about protective parents and the challenges they pose in implementing riskier, nature-based activities. Nicole and Katie suggest being transparent, having clear safety policies, and potentially introducing less physically risky but still meaningful activities (like using tools).
    9. Overall, the discussion underlines the evolving pedagogy of nature-based learning, the challenges posed by regulations and parental concerns, and the solutions educators can employ to create enriching, safe, and compliant learning environments.
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