I don’t know about you, but being outdoors for me brings a sense of peace, a stillness in my busy mind. I have learned to take in my surroundings, notice what I notice, to marvel at nature’s offerings, and feel papatūānuku and her energy radiating up my body. I take a deep breath in .. and a slow breath out. Noticing the sounds that surround me and the scents that envelope me, always in awe of the beauty before me.
This has not always been how I have viewed nature. My connection with nature has evolved over the past 10 years and continues to strengthen each day. I knew being outside had benefits, but underestimated just how much nature would positively impact my emotional wellbeing and deepen not only my connection with tamariki, but their connection with me and papatūānuku.
My connection with nature inspired me to start researching into nature based play, the more I found, the more I shared with Lou and the team, and the more we all learned about the rich authentic learning that can come from time spent in nature. As a team we made plans to start introducing the outdoors into our programmes. We started with a few walks in nature, venues were discussed and visited for suitability, the planning stages were underway, risk assessments completed, parents permission gained and off we went, the start of what we called Forest Education, soon to be shortened to Forest Ed.
We would arrive at our destination, and head on our walk. Adults talking, tamariki talking, we would stop for morning kai, have a wee play and head back along the walking paths eventually reaching the cars. We would exchange goodbyes and all head home. A nice morning in nature done, ….. right? Our youngest would sometimes get out of the pram and sometimes not, each fortnight was a new venue a new space to explore. Every now and then we would see a duck or a spiders web glistening in the morning sun and comment ‘oh look, a spiders web’, or “oh a raki raki” with minimal engagement from the tamariki. Our walk would continue to our destination ‘a spot for kai’.
Conversations started emerging from the tamariki, “Is it your Forest Ed day today Mel?” The children were more excited about Mel’s Forest Ed day as she re-visited the same venue. In our early talks, we the team, discussed the importance of ngā tamariki having a connection with papatūānuku, we overlooked the power of feeling connected to a particular space. Repetition makes connections stronger, so it made sense to make the change and visit the same nature space each fortnight.
A morning in nature for us, is no longer measured by how far we walk but by what we see, hear, smell, feel and discover. Tamariki of all ages are splashing in puddles, digging in dirt, slipping and sliding in mud, walking and crawling on wet grass and dry grass. Rich conversations are emerging, “why is that leaf brown?”, new learnings are discovered, such as finding out pine nuts come from pine cones. Feelings of disappointment expressed “oh, no puddles today :(“. Watching the seasons change one visit at a time. We never tire of witnessing the sheer joy flash across the face of tamariki who have persevered and experienced success, raising their overall confidence while developing a love for the outdoors.
Outdoor learning is a given in our programme now and through some trial and error, have figured out how to layer up for our mornings in a variety of conditions here in Ōtautahi, for the tamariki and for ourselves.
Now, perhaps more than ever, we must find ways to immerse ourselves and our tamariki in natural environments. We are learning more about nature each day and the impact it has on our physical and mental health. We are in the unique position, as kaiako and parents to build awareness and life-long nature lovers by offering experiences for tamariki to be at one with nature, to be fully immersed in the elements, with trusted adults, whānau and friends.. to PLAY the way we once did.
Contact Organic Eduction to find out more about incorporating Nature Play into your programme, whether it be at your home or in your educational setting. They can tailor make group or individual workshops to fit your needs.
We held an event this month to clean up two coastal areas, New Brighton Beach and Woodend Beach as part of our Kaitiaki of Ōtautahi programme. The children and educators who participated received their Environment Warrior Badge for their mahi.
We read Little Hector and the Big Idea and found out what we can all do to help keep our coastal waters beautiful and safe for Little Hector and his friends. Then the cleanup began… We collected 4 full rubbish bags and then entered our collection into the Clean Swell ap and were able to collect our Ahoy Matey badge along with our ICC 2020 International Coastal Cleanup badge.
Welcome to Term 4
We have just begun the final term of 2019 and are looking forward to the warmer weather, sunhats are essential this term. It is a good idea to leave a sun hat in your child’s bag or at your home educators house to be used daily. Please sun block your child before arrival each morning, your educator will reapply in the afternoon. We have some exciting events planned this term, with the first one happening yesterday at Willowbank.
With our Christmas party approaching we are after any donations of newspaper that we can use to wrap the children’s Christmas books in from Santa at the Christmas party. We have continued to improve and think about our sustainable practices this year and aim to become as paperless as possible in the office as well as reduce, reuse and recycle. There will be more to come in 2020 as we share our passion for our environment and sustainable living with you, our Organic Kids whanau.
Your home educator will be sharing with you what dates they are closed over Christmas, please also let them know what dates you are planning to take off over the Christmas period, as Charlotte will be requesting this information from them at the end of November.
Bec, Lou and Charlotte
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We had a great evening last night at Parenting Week, Christchurch hosting Celia Hogan from Little Kiwis Nature Play. Celia spoke about Improving Mental Health through Nature Play. She is an inspiration to all parents and teachers wanting to get back to nature, and a wealth of practical knowledge. Thanks Celia!
Photo Cred to Dr Ellie from Native Chiropractic.
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Kia Ora Koutou and welcome to term 3!
We are in the midst of winter now and the days are cold! With that, please ensure you pack in you pack a warm hat, jacket and gumboots in your child’s bag each day so the children can continue to explore outdoors, learn from nature and attend our Forest programmes.
Parent week – September Parent week now runs over 10 days from 9th – 19th September. Organic Kids are sponsoring Celia Hogan from Little Kiwis Nature Play to present a workshop titled ‘Improving Mental Health through Nature Play – The Early Years. We are charging a gold coin donation, with all proceeds going to The Champion Centre to support the amazing work they do for children who need a little extra support. Tickets will be available through Dash Tickets. There are some great speakers this year for parents of children from babies to teenagers. Well worth a look. Celia will be talking on Monday 9th September, save the date!
Discover. – Thanks for your patience as we iron out a few creases we have been having with the system. The tablets have not proven to be very reliable at times as the developers continue to make updates to make the system work effectively for us. Yes, we are the guinea pigs for the software for homebased care and we appreciate your patience with the issues that have come up. These all hope to be sorted asap.
FAMILY EVENT- Night Nature Walk- come and join us! We have planned in a family night walk (5.30pm – 7pm) with rangers from the CCC. Ranger Sarah is coming with her BBQ trailer and fire pit so we can toast marshmallows and have a hot sausage from the BBQ after we have explored the track and found hidden lanterns. The walk will start from the Nature reserve at 303 Radcliff Rd, push chair friendly (gravel track) on Saturday 14th September. We would love to have you join us!
“Poipoia te kakano kia puawai” Nurture the seed and it will blossom.
Kia Ora Koutou and welcome to term 2.
We have some fun in the pipeline for this term, parents are always welcome to attend any of our planned programme events, check out the ‘upcoming events’ section and feel free to join in, we love to see parents involved in the programme!
Mum2mum discount on wet weather gear! Our Forest programmes will continue over these colder months, so warm and appropriate clothing is paramount. Gumboots, hats and wet weather gear become a necessity, so the children can continue to explore and be warm and dry while out in nature. Organic Kids have a set of wet weather gear available for our Forest Programmes in every size for use if wet weather gear has been forgotten or not available. We have a childcare account with Mum2mum so we can order children’s jackets and overalls at about 50% of RRP. Please email email@example.com if you would like more information or prices. Check out www.mum2mum.co.nz to see what’s on offer.
Thanks for showing your support and understanding! We have had a busy term with new families and educators joining us, the measles outbreak and a still a few hiccups with our invoicing system. It is looking like this is fixed, we will be trialing the invoicing with the educators first and then rolling it out with families beginning of June. Our phones have been red hot all year with a good percentage of our enquires coming from you, our families. We want to thank you all for you own going support and spreading the word about us and your home educator.
Nature Play Conference Last month Bec, Lou, Sonia and Trina attended the Nature Play conference. This was a great day and a half of learning about all thing’s nature and outdoors and the many benefits this has on children’s emotional, physical, social and spiritual development. The outcomes and ideas were shared at our educator breakfast meeting last month, we are all feeling inspired with new learning and refreshed on the value of nature play.
Nga mihi – Bec, Lou and Charlotte
“Whangai ka tupu ka puawai” That which is nurtured, blossoms, then grows.
Kia ora Whanau,
Term 1 is underway! We hope you have all had a wonderful time over the festive season and creating memories with family and friends. We are excited about this year’s plan of events, we plan our outings based on the interests of the children. If you have any suggestions for our monthly outings for 2019 we would love to hear from you, please email any ideas through to Louise or Bec.
New Educators It’s an exciting start to the year for us with five new educators joining our team. We would love to welcome Scarlett in Shirley, Isla in Rolleston and Jo in Sommerfield who all start in February. We also have Alice in Halswell and Rachael in Wainoni joining us in April. We are looking forward to them joining our community of Educators.
Summer time fun in the sun As we are experiencing temperatures higher than usual, it is even more essential that you remember to bring a sunhat every day and spare clothes as water play, messy play and more outside fun in the sun will be explored! Please sun block your child/ren prior to them arriving into care in the morning and your educator will reapply as needed throughout the day.
Charlotte is coming back from maternity leave 😊 We are pleased to see the return of Charlotte our Administrator from maternity leave, she starts back late February. Her days and hours for this year have changed, she will now be available Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.
Late Fees We like to remind you to stay within your booked times unless this has been discussed with your home educator. Please give your educator as much notice as possible if you are going to be late, as this may impact on appointments they have made outside of your booked times. Please note that a late drop off does not mean a late pick up.
Ko te Tamaiti te Putake o te Kaupapa The Child – The heart of the matter
We have been talking with our educators lately about celebrating Kai time with a special ritual. This was firstly introduced at our weekly playgroup with table cloths for the tables and vases with flowers in them. This has followed onto the educators own home programmes with the children setting the table, picking their own flowers and having warm face cloths readily available to wash their hands and face. These careful actions take a humble routine into a scared ritual, honouring the importance of respectful interactions which is at the heart of our practice.
Winter Wellness Top 5 Tips
BOOST YOUR VITAMIN C
Vitamin C helps keep your immune system healthy and can help reduce the length and severity of a cold. However, it is no use swallowing endless vitamin C supplements when you have a cold – that really won’t help. You need to have plenty of foods rich in vitamin C on a day to day basis to get the benefits, that way, if you do get a cold – hopefully it won’t last as long! Lemons, oranges and feijoas are all in season right now and are packed with vitamin C. Add lemon juice to cold or hot water for a tasty drink or try feijoas with low fat yoghurt for a delicious snack.
When it is cold and wet, it can be very tempting to stay inside – but it is vital that you don’t get caught in that trap, you need to get outside. You need to expose your skin to daylight to help your body to make Vitamin D which is important to keep your bones healthy, but also helps keep your immune system healthy. You also need to expose your eyes to daylight to help regulate your mood and sleep.
Wherever you can, choose the wholegrain option – whether it is bread, crackers or breakfast cereal. Oats, brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat are other examples of whole grains which are delicious and so versatile. Wholegrains are packed with fibre which keeps things moving through your gut and they are also a great source of B vitamins which helps keep your energy up. Try adding them to soups for extra nutrition.
GET IN YOUR GREENS
We all know vegetables are good for us, but as the cold months kick in, it is a great time to enjoy some of the dark leafy greens! Spinach, kale and silverbeet are a few examples – they are a great source of vitamins and minerals to help keep your body in tip top shape through the colder months. BONUS – these greens are super easy to grow too so get into the garden!
Colder, darker days can make the couch a very appealing place to be – but, keeping active will help you to maintain a healthy weight, keep your body working well and help you feel better so find a way to keep moving! Don’t be afraid of the rain, get a good umbrella and coat – you can still enjoy a walk when there are a few rain drops. See what classes are running at your local leisure centre, try going for a swim – just find something that works for you that you can keep up with throughout the whole of autumn and winter.
By Claire Turnbull. NZ Registered Nutritionist, AUT Millennium Institute. For more information about Claire, visit her website: www.claireturnbull.co.nz