We are so excited to put into place ways to build on the wonderful nature play that our students are leading throughout our play spaces on campus. Why emphasize and encourage nature play? Children have an affinity for nature; when children play in nature, they are much more engaged and enthused than when in entirely artificial environments comprised of plastic and metal structures. Current research shows outdoor nature play with simple, natural materials boosts creativity, enhances problem-solving skills, and invites children to become attuned, collaborative leaders. On another level, it is important for children to grow up engaging with nature in a positive manner so they can understand and appreciate human dependency on the natural world and become stewards of the earth.
We're in the beginning stages of sprucing up spaces to plant gardens on campus. These gardens are designed to be the sources of many loose parts for nature play. In this way, all the ingredients for the nature play will be sourced from our own beautiful campus, and be accessible to the kids.
Additionally, we are excited that the PTO is providing support for us to invite and encourage more imaginative play with "loose parts" of nature. We'll be using the PTO funds to purchase items that will encourage more of what is happening naturally among our students, such as baskets and crates for nature collections, nature kitchens, cooking implements, and more.
Curious about what exactly nature play looks like and how you can encourage it with your children? Come join us for a day of nature play next Saturday, May 21 at 10:00 am led by our very own Primary Lead Teacher Ann who performed extensive research on this topic in graduate school and has a wealth of valuable information to offer us.
We are accepting loose parts donations for this event and beyond. Here is a list of items that you can start to gather and contribute to support this wonderful endeavor. Collection boxes will be placed outside Ann's Primary classroom as well as in the Admissions Office. Please feel welcome to drop off items during regular school hours.
Loose Parts Wish List
- Fresh and dried flower petals
- Dried Hibiscus (mixes well with water to make a pink Hibiscus tea)
- Pinecones, all shapes, sizes
- Fresh herbs (mint, rosemary, etc. some of the more fast-growing herbs)
- Seashells, all shapes, sizes
- Leaves (from fresh or dried bouquets)
- Ice (chunks, cubes, large pieces, frozen in aluminum pans) for the Nature Play Day on May 21st
- Watering cans
- Gourds, mini pumpkins
- Dried corn on cobs
- Tree Cookies (slices of thick branches)
- Trunk Cookies (slices of trunks of trees)
- Sticks, twigs, and branches, all sizes (especially large ones for forts)
- Tangerine peels (dried)
- Loose Parts Live Plant List coming soon!
Other Things to Collect (that you might find at a yard sale)
- Baskets, all sizes
- Plastic or Metal buckets, all sizes
- Wooden Crates Camping gear for cooking : tin cups, plates, pots, etc Mixing bowls (metal)
- Metal or wooden utensils
- Wooden cutting boards
- Coffee Bean Burlap Sacks
- T-shirt yarn (ask Ann to show you how to make this!)
- Light, cotton scarves
- Rain boots for PK and K students (children's sizes 8-12)