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When playing outside, children enter into an enchanting world where they develop a deep connection to the earth, and their imagination, creativity, and sensory exploration are all ignited. Children build strong foundations while exploring, investigating and experimenting through outdoor play. But that type of play no longer has to end at the classroom door.

As educators and mentors to your students, you are in amazing place to extend the value of outdoor natural play to inside the classroom, into your everyday curriculum, and it can be done quite seamlessly. Natural Pod co-founder Bridgitte Alomes recently presented an enlightening workshop – An Integrated Approach to Indoor and Outdoor Play – to educators at the third annual University of Victoria Summer Institute.

As a mother to two young children and an active proponent of free, natural play, Bridgitte was honoured to share her passion and guide educators in ways to reawaken their intuition to teach through space and invitation, which ultimately leads to children thriving naturally.

During the interactive workshop, Bridgitte swept educators away to a simple time, a time where we can all connect to nature and were reminded of the value of free natural play.

With simple objects – such as an item from nature, a scarf or piece of fabric – and their imaginations, teachers were able to explore the open-endedness of an unencumbered learning pallet.

Free undirected play allows children to have the opportunity to interpret an idea in their own way. And it doesn’t take much to integrate the freedom of outdoor play inside, and still celebrate the natural environment. A small grouping of simple materials that can go outside and inside can keep 25 children interested for many hours.

“For me, it is opportunities to experience the natural world and use their imagination,” Bridgitte told the participants.

“Play is just what it really is. It’s just about getting out and experiencing, and feeling that sensation and trusting that we actually learn from play.”

Educators left inspired and filled with ideas on the discovery of natural indoor and outdorr play. Watch below:

Here are some comments from the participants:

“I love your work – and I know teachers will be inspired as well by the message you provide about free natural play. Thank you for sharing at UVic in July, your work had a huge impact on my students’ assignments and more importantly on their lives as teachers – in the fall when I see you I would like to show you some of the exemplary assignments that you were the catalyst for- your session at UVic sparked many fine ventures to use the outdoors and natural materials. What a far-reaching effect your work creates …. looking forward to our next meeting. “

“You have a very inspiring approach to children’s play and I think you spoke to the inner-child of everyone present.”

“I really want to thank you for making it so real and so beautiful.”