By Dr Jean Haley via UNE Discovery Voyager

Recently, I was lucky enough to tune in to the webinar series “Well-being, Play and Outdoor Learning”, hosted by Jeavons Landscape Architects in Victoria. Topics covered ranged from garden and playground design in schools, to the importance of the outdoors as learning environments, and the crucial role of nature play in childhood development. Might not sound like explosive rocket science, but can I tell you, my mind was blown! I had so many exciting ‘aha’ moments, and very real connections to my own childhood.

Merri Park Play Space, VIC – Jeavons Landscape Architects

First up, what is nature play? Well, according to Stephanie Willey, who spoke of the importance of nature play to children’s wellbeing, the key feature of nature play is that children spend regular, long periods of unstructured and uninterrupted play time in natural environments. Why is nature play important? Nature play is bursting with learning opportunities. It develops skills such as problem solving, communication skills and social skills, and fosters imagination and sensory exploration. It supports children’s physical health and emotional wellbeing, and fosters a connection and respect for the natural world.

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