The Mindstretchers Academy Blog — Nature Pedagogy

A BLOG ABOUT BOGS

Posted by Claire Warden on

A BLOG ABOUT BOGS

30 years ago, I fell into a bog. The day was cold and clagged in. I couldn’t see more than a few inches in front of me and I slipped on a wet rock and fell. My partner and I were camping in a midge invested camp site at the foot of Ben Nevis in Scotland and had committed to climbing the monument that is Ben Nevis. Bogs are an important habitat and I had no intent to damage the area I fell in. As we had walked up the lower slopes there was a mixture of heather moorland, grass...

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FORGOTTEN SPACES - A CORNER OF THE PLAYGROUND

Posted by Claire Warden on

FORGOTTEN SPACES - A CORNER OF THE PLAYGROUND

Trees - A movable forest In this second blog on forgotten spaces we explore the concept of a movable forest and how this small action can soften a landscape and therefore increase children’s desire to be outside. In many environments where I often work, the outdoor landscape is very barren due to increasing levels of vandalism. In these locations it can be hard for staff to sustain the motivation to replace and fix damaged items. It was from this experience that 13 years ago I designed a mobile system called the ‘We-Go outside’. It took its name from my young...

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HEALTHY DIRT

Posted by Claire Warden on

HEALTHY DIRT

Playing in mud helps our bodies function because we are in fact, not individuals. We are ecosystems with microbial partners (microbiota) that are involved in the development (particularly in early life) and function of essentially every organ, including the brain. This blog seeks to focus on the research on the long-term health benefits of being exposed to dirt not just in playing with mud, but through our changing habits in society. Allergies The Hygiene Hypothesis, first put forth in the 1980s, holds that when children are too clean and their exposure to parasites, bacteria, and viruses is limited early in...

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THE DARK WOODS - CHILDREN EXPLORING FEAR

Posted by Claire Warden on

THE DARK WOODS - CHILDREN EXPLORING FEAR

I always try to spend as much time at Auchlone Nature Kindergarten as my other commitments allow, and on one of the days I was there, the children had a meeting and decided it was time to go into the dark woods. Their choice of location on the site has always fascinated us. What drives the group to go to the climbing dragon (tree) or the rhododendron bush den? It is not normally a dominant child, but often an unspoken understanding of 'today is the day'. The children talked to each other, almost affirming their own limits for exploration and...

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SHARED VISIONS AND VALUES FOR OUTDOOR PLAY IN THE EARLY YEARS

Posted by Claire Warden on

SHARED VISIONS AND VALUES FOR OUTDOOR PLAY IN THE EARLY YEARS

The vision for all young children is that: All children have the right to experience and enjoy the essential and special nature of being outdoors from a very young age. Young children thrive and their minds and bodies develop best when they have free access to stimulating outdoor environments for learning through play and real experiences. Knowledgeable and enthusiastic adults are crucial to unlocking the potential of outdoors. We believe it is essential to underpin the vision and, in particular the values, with a rationale for how this thinking came about, and more detailed information on what each value means...

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