Kids learn­ing from na­ture

The Invercargill Eye - - FRONT PAGE - MARY WITSEY

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.’’

SUPPLIED

Win­ton Kin­der­garten chil­dren get­ting back to na­ture at Win­ton’s Ivy Rus­sell Re­serve,which is the home of their in­no­va­tive for­est kin­der­garten pro­gramme.

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