Aug. 13, 2018, 2:55 p.m.
Remember the old days where we all played in the mud and had a great time? Research shows that there are major health and social benefits for our kids being outdoors and in nature. Northland Preschool teacher Geoff Fugle talks about the research and philosophy that leads his Preschool, Open Spaces, to adapt a very “being with nature” approach to everyday activities and learning. Fugle specifically makes mention of Richard Louv an American non-fiction author and jounalist best known for his book, Last Child in The Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder which investigates the relationship of children and the natural world in current and historical contexts. This book is commonly credited with helping to inspire an international movement to reintroduce children to nature.
Open Spaces is also the home to an annual conference on subject - kids in nature. The international event brings in hundreds of people and over the many years, several high profile key speakers.
Community Support Worker Debbie Reyburn also weighs in on the benefits some kids with autism receive when placed in an outdoor environment. The main idea being senses - in nature we’re constantly seeing something new, feeling something, smelling something. Often being in nature and having these senses tested can be calming, therapeutic.
More information the Open Spaces centre specifically but also the philosophy they adopt can be found here: http://www.openspaces.net.nz/