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Why Three Trees Loves Nature Play

At Three Trees Learning Centre, we believe that nature is one of the best classrooms for young children, and an important element of our philosophy is to foster each tamariki’s innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. We think of the environment as the ‘third teacher’ and are committed to creating spaces where children can enjoy the freedom of leading their own learning, and exploring and discovering within our environment.


Children learn most effectively when they are connecting deeply with nature through play experiences, and nature play – which involves unstructured outdoor activities – provides numerous benefits that support the holistic development of preschool children. From boosting physical health to enhancing cognitive and emotional development, the great outdoors offers a wealth of opportunities for growth and learning.


Physical Health and Development

Nature play encourages tamariki to be physically active while helping them develop their motor skills, strength, and coordination. Running, jumping, climbing, and balancing on uneven surfaces engages different muscle groups and promote overall physical fitness. Exposure to sunlight also helps children produce vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bone development.


Cognitive Growth and Creativity

The natural world is a rich sensory environment that stimulates children’s curiosity and imagination. Nature play provides endless opportunities for exploration and discovery, fostering cognitive development. Children learn to observe, question, and problem-solve as they interact with the world around them. Building structures with sticks, creating art from leaves and flowers, and investigating insects are just a few examples of how nature play can enhance creativity and critical thinking skills.


Emotional and Social Development

Playing in nature has a calming effect on children and can help reduce stress and anxiety. The sensory experiences of being outdoors – feeling the wind, hearing birdsong, and smelling flowers – can have a soothing impact, promoting emotional well-being. Nature play also encourages social interaction and cooperation. Children learn to share, negotiate, and work together as they engage in group activities, such as building forts or playing in the sand. These experiences help them develop essential social skills and build positive relationships.


Environmental Stewardship

Nature play helps children develop a sense of connection to the natural world, and the concept of sustainability is introduced through hands on learning experiences with a focus on growing knowledge as to what it means to be a Kaitiaki of the land and environment. This connection fosters a respect for the environment and an understanding of the importance of sustainability. Children who spend time outdoors are more likely to grow up valuing nature and advocating for its protection. Early experiences in nature lay the foundation for lifelong environmental stewardship.


Academic Benefits

Studies show that children who engage in regular nature play perform better academically. The skills they develop, such as concentration, observation and problem-solving, translate to improved performance in the classroom. Nature play also enhances language development as children describe their experiences and discoveries, and has been shown to increase attention spans and reduce symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


At Three Trees Learning Centre, nature play and the great outdoors is a significant aspect of our award-winning centre design, and we integrate nature play into our early childhood education programmes to provide children with a well-rounded and enriching learning experience. Enrol your tamariki at Three Trees Learning Centre and let your them discover the wonders of nature through play. Together, we can nurture a generation of healthy, curious, and environmentally-conscious individuals


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