Once a fortnight the oldest children at Kinderen’s Big Centre head out for a farm adventure where they learn a holistic set of life skills in a unique environment of fun, challenge and achievement. The many opportunities to interact with animals and nature provide these children with an experience like nothing we can create in the classroom.
Learning about life cycles of the natural world teaches children to understand that what they do makes a difference. We start to build the foundations of environmentally thoughtful young human beings as they make friends with chickens, feed them, collect their eggs, then cook something yummy and nourishing for their own bodies.
We also teach children to notice beauty in the trees and plants around them, to see that not all things are the same and that this is okay and right in nature, just as it is okay and right in people. We are all different and special in our own individual ways, just as the trees and plants are all made unique and special. This brings acceptance of ourselves – which grows confidence; Acceptance of others – which grows kindness. When children are confident in themselves and disposed to being kind to others, their relationships flourish and the future starts to look brighter for them and for our community.
The forest provides children with opportunities to grow their fine and large motor skills in more challenging and satisfying ways then man-made monkey bars ever can. The irregular nature of natural spaces means thinking about where they are putting their feet, lifting their legs high and ducking down low – multi-tasking and firing all those brain cells as they create imaginative games to enjoy with their friends.
We are so lucky to be able to provide these opportunities for our children here in Aotearoa!