This weekend I'm attending a conference for Lutheran Early Childhood Educators--so many of whom are interested in, committed to, and inspired by nature education. I attended a presentation all about Play--the value of it, and how we as educators and parents have a responsibility to preserve kids outdoor play.
The folks at this conference are sharing ideas and resources about how to increase kids' exposure to the outdoors-doing everything from Butterfly Rearing Projects to landscaping and everything in between.
This is so exciting to me, to see this momentum and enthusiasm in the field of early childhood education. Most of these teachers are open-minded and willing to try new things, and this is different than the climate I experienced, say, 5 years ago.
Used to be that there was a lot of convincing necessary to get educators "on board" with the need for nature and outdoor play. No more. People are starting to "get it." They are willing to try to make nature a part of their setting, their surroundings, and their schedules.
I applaud educators who believe in the benefits of nature for children. Parents too-those who continue to ensure that children (your own, others) have access to and time in the outdoors. It really does make a difference! Thank you, thank you, thank you.