Nature immersion is defined by Erin Kenny as, “unstructured free time in nature, resulting in an intimate, deep and personal connection to the natural world.” Extended and uninterrupted nature immersion provides experiences and connection with rhythms that connect children to the outdoors and the natural world. Nature immersion leads to a suspension of linear time and a sense of timelessness in our hurried lives, which is necessary for creating bonds to place, self and living beings within the space. Close contact with nature contributes to young children’s motor, sensory, social, emotional, moral and cognitive development, as well as a child’s physical health and mental wellbeing.
When children become interested and excited about something, their sense of wonder leads to hunger for knowledge about that subject. Children also retain more information when it is dispensed at that moment their curiosity is piqued. Using our emergent curriculum we follow the child’s interest and capitalize on this way of learning. Children learn problem-solving skills including critical thinking and divergent thinking. They develop their executive function which is a better predictor of school success than IQ. They build their creativity, imagination, willingness to take risks, and emotional resilience. There is a focus on team building and cooperation both of which are great skills for not only school but life. Children will leave our program ready to enjoy school because they will enjoy learning and have a thirst for discovery.
Some life skills they will gain include social skills, conflict resolution, self-regulation, negotiation, body awareness, respect, instilled kindness, compassion, empathy, emotional balance and risk assessment.
Living harmoniously with others makes for a more peaceful world. Treating ourselves with gentle kindness and respect flows outward and results in the ability for higher compassion towards others. Seeing ourselves as an integral part of the natural world leads us to want to protect and preserve all aspects of it.
Recent research shows young children learn best through direct hands-on experience and through play, music and art. All of these stimulate imagination and creativity. We will integrate some of each into our sessions daily.
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