Hello, I am wanting to hear from early childhood educators of how they are involving infants and toddlers in nature. I believe that is very important to all of their developmental needs. They learn through their senses, and nature has everything you need to tickle those senses! Let me hear from you.

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Hi Vanessa, 

Although I'm not a early childhood educator I've done in the passed some activities with kindergarden kids -ages between 3 and 5-. It's a challenge, I'll tell you that, especially when it comes to their safety, but it is really worth it.

Kids are very engaged in what's happening around them and very opened to new experiences. Besides they tend to treasure those memories, and that makes them opened to new knowledge on the subject.

Catarina

Hi Vanessa, I think children at this age stage are so wonderful to teach about what nature has to offer to them. And the best part is that it doesn't have to be a structured curriculum. I've been teaching my daughter about biology, physics, chemistry, and all sorts of wonderful nature experiments. 

Although sometimes some children tend to be bored or uninterested, I find that children learn best when they see nature at work like in the life cycle of a butterfly or ladybug. Or just simply gardening a Lima bean. 

So much to learn and so little time. How are you approaching nature learning?

Hey there Barbara, It's good to hear from you. I too find that seeing nature at work is the best!
I actually have a family child care home and I serve families with infants and toddlers only. I love this age group and with all the new natural environment movement going on for early childhood programs, I jumped on the band wagon from the infants/toddlers viewpoint. There are manyways to involve infants in nature safely; one thing I do with them is to turn them loose/or lay them out on a blanket, in our sensory garden I have made just for them where they can experience hands on plants/herbs/etc. all etable and nontoxic, our music wall made out of chimes, pots and pans, etc., and natural creative material to explore with. I hang long stemmed flowers, long grass, and/or branches with different textured leaves from a rope hung between 2 posts where the infants can look, kick-at, stretch to reach/ watch them blowing in the breeze/ smell the fragrances and so-forth. One of our favorite things is raising tadpoles for the toddlers. They love this and when they turn into frogs we turn them loose in our frog pond (which is an outdoor water fountain). I have posted some pictures on this site, feel free to look at them. Thanks for responding and have a great summer with your family.

Hello Catarina, I am glad to see that you are involving your children in nature. It is risky at times but like you said, it is worth it. It is even more risky for infants and toddlers but with proper supervision it can be done and I find that parents really enjoy their children getting dirty and exploring nature when they know we as teachers are right in the middle of it with them to enjoy their children, nurture and guide them, and keep them as safe as we can. Thanks for your comment and keep on that nature track.

Catarina Loureiro said:

Hi Vanessa, 

Although I'm not a early childhood educator I've done in the passed some activities with kindergarden kids -ages between 3 and 5-. It's a challenge, I'll tell you that, especially when it comes to their safety, but it is really worth it.

Kids are very engaged in what's happening around them and very opened to new experiences. Besides they tend to treasure those memories, and that makes them opened to new knowledge on the subject.

Catarina

Hi Vanessa, Barbara and Catarina,

Do you know about our Early Childhood Resources group here on C&NN Connect? That might be a good place to move this discussion to get other people involved and share resources. Let me know if you're interested in joining that group and moving the discussion over there:


http://childrenandnature.ning.com/group/earlychildhoodnatureresources

 

Thanks!

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