Natural Pod’s CEO, Bridgitte Alomes, was recently requested to present a Workshop to the educators from Kinder Kampus about Natural Play and its importance. Kinder Kampus provides premium quality, learning-focused childcare for children aged 12 months to 12 years. Each centre features an all-natural design and they believe free play should be free of consequence and not out-come based.
It was an inspiring evening and alot of fun was had by all present while also discussing the more serious subject points of the event.
Bridgitte’s presentation style is one of creating interaction, so she started by asking the participants: ‘When you were a child, what did you connect with in your classroom? And as an adult when you walk into your education space in the morning, what do you connect with? Are you inspired to be there? Are the children inspired to be there?’
These opening questions prompted a great group discussion and really encouraged the educators to think about the learning environment from the child’s perspective.
This reflection then lead to the concepts and importance of Natural Play, again a great interaction was had within the group as Bridgitte explained why open ended free play is so important for a child’s development. It’s so important because the skills of problem solving, communication, community, collaboration are all learned through free play that has no direction and no predetermined outcome.
Children all learn differently and at different speeds, but they can all create and imagine and this is the basis of free play. As an educator you can create play invitations with creative questions – Ask the class: What do you see? You can think about how you can use their responses and energy to change an invitation or a provocation towards what they see using open ended play items that are not already predetermined. This encouragement of creative thinking also allows each child to have a voice and that fosters their sense of empowerment and confidence.
The workshop concluded with discussing ideas on how to educate parents about the importance of play? How do we change mindsets away from workbooks to the importance of open ended play? Bridgitte explained that the ultimate goal is that playing with our children should be a habit that happens every day, just like brushing your teeth, just do it every day!