Early Years Consultant, author and motivator Kimberly Smith is our guest writer for this item on bringing curiosity for the outdoors alive for our youngest children.
When asked if I could be a guest on this blog I was asked to write about something that I’m passionate about. For me I have two areas but I feel they can be combined well.
-Wellbeing of educators and children
-Igniting the curiosity of young learners to connect with nature.
I like to refer to this second one as Wanderlust in the Early Years. It is this second one I’m going to write about today.
During a recent shopping hunt on Amazon to purchase an enormous pair of pink pants… that’s a whole different story that we won’t go into now… I couldn’t believe what advertisement popped up onto the screen. A device that could fasten an iPad to a high chair. After further investigation I discovered a whole range of tablet holding products aimed at babies. There were ones to fasten onto prams, cots and even jumperroos.
No wonder our job as Early Educators is becoming increasingly more challenging as we are seeing an increase in young children with under developed sensory and motor skills as a result of excessive screen time. Perhaps this presents its self in the children you work with as falling over lots, poor posture, lack of special awareness as well as difficulties in managing their feelings leading to poor mental health.
These signs are not just linked to the development miles stones for young children but also affect the way children play. Many educators I have worked with discuss how children struggle to play imaginatively and lack creativity too.
So what are we going to do about it?
I feel that so many of these problems can be avoided if we just allow children access into nature. We need to fuel their curiosity to explore the world, ask questions and dream big!! Outdoors is the perfect place to explore barefoot; feeling the morning dew on the grass really does awaken the senses. Going outside at the night and looking up at the stars, growing fruit in the garden and tasting the freshness of the strawberries or experiencing the richness of the woods and climbing a tree. We as educators have to feel empowered to make these changes to our practice. We need to put a stop to excessive screen time and fill children’s worlds with all the possibilities that exist. If I was to name a song to be soundtrack to this it would have to be ‘A Million Dreams’ by Hugh Jackman and Ziv Zaifman… For those of you that follow me insta stories you’ll know that little bit obsessed with the Greatest Showman as well…
Wanderlust in the Early Years is on sale at the end of June.