Our natural surroundings can be easy to take for granted sometimes. Life can be fast-paced and stopping to smell the roses isn’t always a priority.
Taking place each year on 5 June, World Environment Day serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of nature. Especially when we consider the pressing environmental challenges faced now and into the future, fostering a deep connection between children and the natural environment is crucial. Not only does it benefit children’s wellbeing but this connection can also play a vital role in nurturing a sustainable world for a long time to come.
The Joy of Exploring Nature
Children possess an innate curiosity and wonder, making them perfect candidates for experiencing the beauty of the natural world.
By providing opportunities for children to explore nature, early childhood educators as well as families can help them develop a sense of awe and appreciation for the environment.
Best of all — it’s so easy to facilitate this for children! Outdoor activities such as nature walks, gardening, and wildlife spotting are all it takes to instil a love of nature while boosting children’s physical and mental development and wellbeing.
These experiences also encourage children to become caretakers of the planet, helping them to understand their role in relation to the ecosystem.
Learning Through Nature
Connecting children with the natural environment goes beyond having fun, feeling good and looking after the environment. It is also a powerful educational tool.
Nature provides a vast classroom where children can learn about the interconnectedness of all living things. This includes the delicate balance and relationships in nature, and the consequences of human actions on the environment.
By engaging in hands-on activities like planting trees, creating wildlife habitats, or participating in local clean-ups, children gain valuable knowledge about sustainability, conservation, and the need for responsible environmental practices. They are also empowered with a broader view of belonging within the world and a sense of being connected to something much bigger.
Building Environmental Empathy
When children (or adults!) experience the beauty of a forest, the network of life in a river, or the diverse habitats of animals, they begin to develop a deeper appreciation for the environment and its inhabitants. That includes us humans too!
This connection nurtures a sense of responsibility in all of us, as we work towards a more sustainable world for everyone to enjoy.
This World Environment Day, let’s refocus ourselves on nurturing this bond between children in early childhood education and nature. Developing a love of the world around us can bring a lifetime of joy. Plus, we can create a brighter future, one in which children grow up understanding the importance of caring for every aspect of ourselves and others.
To help you and children celebrate World Environment Day, we’ve created a complete printable resources pack. Together with original song ‘Bonkers Rap’, the pack covers crucial areas of curriculum, including sustainability, environmental studies, sorting, maths, literacy, wellbeing, improvisation, creativity and music development.
To access the resources, click HERE.