Kids learning from nature
An innovative Winton Kindergarten outdoor education programme is celebrating its success with a book highlighting the activities of the children.
The kindergarten has presented the book to the Winton Community Board and it is now on show at the district library.
Each week 10 senior children from the kindergarten visit the Ivy Russell Reserve in Winton and enjoy play and education in the outdoors. Forest kindergarten coordinator and teacher Sally Bailey said the programme was about spending quality time in nature.
‘‘It’s about creativity and imagination, and learning that there’s so much in the natural world.’’
Te Anau kindergarten had developed the forest kindy concept, with kindergartens in Invercargill also using the programme, while Winton has been operating it for the past three years.
‘‘We want to share the joy and calmness of being in nature and instil that in the children while they’re young, so they have that understanding that nature is special and brings us many things.’’
A kindy castle had been built at the reserve and the children had also made their own swings, along with enjoying tree climbing and water play.
Great support from parents had also allowed the programme to be successful.
‘‘We get quite a lot of dads and granddads coming along, which gives that male perspective.
‘‘They also help building huts and have a really good knowledge of plants and trees.’’
The Winton Community Board had been very supportive of the programme.
‘‘They’ve been really great in allowing us to use the reserve.’’
The book had been developed to showcase the children’s activities and let the community know what was involved in the forest kindergarten, Bailey said.
‘‘We wanted to show how we are using the reserve, how grateful we are to have it and how much learning is happening there.’’
Board chair John McHugh said they were pleased to receive the book.
‘‘It’s very well put together and it’s a good reflection on of what they do at the Ivy Russell Reserve.
‘‘I think it’s really good that they are using the reserve in this way.’’
Winton Kindergarten children getting back to nature at Winton’s Ivy Russell Reserve,which is the home of their innovative forest kindergarten programme.