Children learn through play. It is evident that play provides for exploration, experimentation, and manipulation; essential for constructing knowledge and developing representational thought. All too often choices in classroom infrastructure and manipulatives lead to lackluster play and playlessness. This presents a significant challenge to achieving pedagogical goals.
Natural Pod envisions children continuously at play, surrounded by space (not just more ‘stuff’) in which to discover and engage with their own budding creativity and intrinsic need to confirm natural order. Because of the innate flexibility of our products and the extensive experience employing them in a variety of environments, we are extremely adept and always willing to assist teachers in creating a classroom truly infused with the invitation to play. We can help teachers utilize the space to achieve the highest pedagogical aims.
First and foremost, Natural Pod wants teachers and parents to ask themselves critically: “Do our children need this? Where did this come from? Who made this? How far did it travel from where it was made? What is it made of? How will our children benefit? What will it look like if they don’t have this?” Often, as parents, we joke that it’s “the box” the child ends up playing with more than the toy inside. The question is, how often is just being inspired by “the box” put to the test?
What is so fulfilling for Natural Pod is that any child using our products can learn and understand exactly who made it, precisely where it came from and how it found its way to them. Constructed from materials found only in nature, the children innately relate and respond to them. A natural alignment between our core values, quality design and thoughtful placement, ensures integrity that translates well in pedagogy. How many products have this whole story?
What is natural play?
- Children playing without intervention or pre-conceived adult direction
- Toys that don’t limit the child’s ability to interact and create spontaneously via the free experience of her own emotional process
- Simple open-ended materials that can be combined such as logs, blocks, fabric, items from nature and a range of other materials (use your imagination…)
What are the benefits of natural play?
Nature works as a buffer to everyday life. With exposure to nature and natural play, there is an increase in self-esteem and the imaginative and cognitive thought processes.
Children learn to self regulate. Once they become involved in natural play, children develop their imaginations, which lead to greater sustained attention. It defers the gratification compared to play that is not open ended. Hands-on exploration seems critical for the development of understanding and inventiveness.
It is understandable that spaces need more flexibility to accommodate the range of activities that suit children’s needs. In an environment that promotes this, children will be more at ease. For the purpose of play therapy and study of children, their behaviour, activities and play, this is critical.
Video: What is our natural play philosophy?