Seven Qualities of the Nature Pedagogue: 1 Reflective
The footage shows children reflecting with staff upon previous experiences that are documented in their Family Books (individual Learning Journal). They recall experiences and plan for the future using this methodology at Auchlone Nature Kindergarten.
The staff work with the children to create their own Family Book; these are compiled chronologically using Learning Stories to record their time at Auchlone Nature Kindergarten. These books document an individual child’s learning alongside Talking and Thinking Floorbooks (the group learning experiences). Staff use Floorbooks and Family Books as a reflective tool to evaluate past experience and embed prior learning (Metacognition). They are also used to plan future experiences.
Reflective - Looking back and sharing memories and having further thoughts using the photographs and quotes from the children’s family books to stimulate discussion.
Collaboration - The staff share the facilitation role of discussion, helping children question and evaluate their own learning.
Skills and knowledge - Children and staff share their knowledge – both vocabulary and understanding.
Seven Qualities of the Nature Pedagogue: 2. Open, not Dominant
This footage demonstrates how the practitioner can support children on their climbing journey at Boldon Nursery School-Outdoor Nursery.
Tree climbing is physical learning for a child at its best, This experience demonstrates the control and strength children can achieve with practice and freedom to explore.
Before they will ever be able to hold a pencil and write with control, a child at this age needs to have full control over their bodies and strength in their core muscles - arms, shoulders, joints and coordination are key if they will ever hold a pen or pencil comfortably - skills for life that will transfer to many other experiences.
Open, not dominant - The adults body language is supportive and not overpowering - not having the answers or inductions but supporting the child to challenge themselves.
Happy and secure outside - Sam uses her own passion for tree climbing as a child to inspire her practice.
Synergy with nature - Sam encourages the children to listen to nature, feel the elements and take full advantage of the new perspective.
Collaboration - The staff work supportively to ensure they work in areas they feel strong and passionate.
Seven Qualities of the Nature Pedagogue: 3. Happy and secure outside
This footage demonstrates how children are enjoying the playful activities of cross-country skiing at Hval Gård barnehage.
The children begin their skiing journey moving on flat ground, then mastering small slopes up and down, learning how to manage their bodies and coordinate their movements.
Happy and secure outside - The adults body language is supportive and not overpowering - not having the answers or inductions. They are standing out as good models and supporting the child to challenge themselves.
Skills and knowledge - The adult is just helping and gently guiding when the children need it. There are no “screaming” instructors. The adult let the child lead its own way, based on looking at others and asking for guidance when needed.
Collaboration - The adults are aware that they must be observant and follow up every child individually. In most cases they divide the children between them before the activity.
Seven Qualities of the Nature Pedagogue: Q4 Skills and Knowledge
This footage demonstrates how the practitioner supports a child to light the fire and make charcoal in Boldon Nursery School-outdoor nursery.
This is an experience that the children are part of from very early in their journey. After establishing respect and understanding for the fire, and confidence in their ability to light it and manage the risk we begin to use it for a purpose, whether that is cooking, keeping warm or creating.
In this example the experience develops many skills, alongside inspiring children to write with their own pencil.
Skills and knowledge - Supporting children to learn new skills through demonstrating, but also encouragement to explore and find out. Adults have visible skills and know how to support individuals appropriately.
Open, not dominant - In the footage Sam allows the child time and space to explore.
Happy and secure outside - All aspects of nature and the elements are embraced and brought to the child’s attention.
Reflective - Sam summaries the key learning experiences and creates possible lines of development as she works.
Seven Qualities of the Nature Pedagogue: 6 Synergy with Nature
This footage demonstrates the use of nature as a food source and the importance of showing children how knowledge and understanding helps us forage for useful materials to be self sustaining at Jurta Nature Kindergarten
Using the gifts of nature – the children learn that we can take the gifts of nature in a reasonable quantity and we can use it to produce edible and delicious things. Syrup, juice, tea and other delicacies. When we are here for the nature, the nature is here for us. We can learn about the nature while touching it, smelling it and also while viewing the books about it.
Synergy with nature - The children learn how to observe the nature and their surroundings. They try to find out the information about nature. We use the gifts of nature to produce an elderflower syrup.
Skills and knowledge - The children learn how to produce the elderflower syrup. They search the information in the book.
Respectful - We learn how to respect the nature and not to take more than we need. We respect each other while working. The children are free to ask for some support in case of need.
Seven Qualities of the Nature Pedagogue: 6 Synergy with Nature
This footage demonstrates a nature pedagogue and children going fishing at Hval Gård kindergarten.
This experience is important because it is an old Norwegian tradition to collect food and live by nature since the Vikings lived in this area. The environment around the kindergarten makes it very natural to go fishing with the children.
And it is important for the children to learn how and where you can catch the fish.
Synergy with nature - Norwegians have a strong tradition in being in synergy with nature. Main focus is to live by nature.
Skills and knowledge - The pedagogues uses they`re passion for fishing, to inspire the children and supply their knowledge to this old tradition.
Feel at home in nature - The staff loves being outside, learning and sharing knowledge about the Norwegian traditions.
Respectful - Being in and with nature, inspire the children in collecting food from nature and see the whole process.
Seven Qualities of Nature Pedagogue: 7 Collaboration - Teamwork
The footage shows staff and children working collaboratively together to Benefit Risk Assess the experience of visiting a burn (stream) to have a boat race at Auchlone Nature Kindergarten.
At Auchlone Nature Kindergarten we use Benefit Risk Assessment. Risk assessing in the past focused on removal of risk and was often undertaken by the adult. In Benefit Risk Assessment we aim to reduce risk to as safe level but not remove it entirely. By involving children in Benefit Risk Assessment they are aware of the dangers and how they will stay safe.
Skills and knowledge - Give children the skills to identify the positives of an experience, the hazards or associated risks and the precautions to keep us safe.
Open, not dominant - Allowing children to discuss and identify their own precautions to stay safe.
Happy and secure outside - When we know how to stay safe, it reassures us and we become happy and content in our environment.
Respectful - Encourage children to self risk assess.
Auchlone Kindergarten Whistlebrae Nature Kindergarten was the first outdoor nursery to open in Scotland in 2006, this merged with Auchlone in 2009. It operates in private partnership with Perth and Kinross Local Authority.
Auchlone Nature Kindergarten is an award winning early years centre (for 2 to 5 year olds) based near Crieff in Scotland. The children spend over 80% of their time outdoors while at Auchlone. Being a nature kindergarten is so much more than that. Whether we are inside, outside or beyond, we use nature to learn and provide children with authentic opportunities that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
In 2006 Mindstretchers opened the first outdoor Nature Kindergarten in Scotland, Whistlebrae. The site later moved to Auchlone Nature Kindergarten near Crieff, Scotland, in 2009. The implementation of the Nature Kindergarten philosophy has resulted in Auchlone being considered sector leading and recognised internationally. Over the last few years Auchlone has been a finalist and winner for many different awards, including NMT’s Outdoor Learning Environment 2016 and Nursery World’s Nursery of the Year 2016.
Boldon Nursery School-Outdoor Nursery is a Local Authority maintained nursery school, one of only 4 in our Local Authority and set in an area of high deprivation. The focus in all nursery schools is on narrowing the attainment gap between children to enable all children to have the best start in life, making outstanding progress during their time in nursery. The school, by law, needs its own Headteacher, who is a qualified teacher with innovative Leadership and Management skills and a qualified teacher to lead the teaching and learning. Our approach to learning outdoors is unique, and although some other settings offer ‘forest school’ sessions, there are very few nursery schools in the country who offers experiences outdoors for 80% or more of the time- in all weathers. In England, Nursery Schools are inspected by Ofsted to the same framework as Primary schools, carried out by Ofsted or HMI inspectors. The school is currently judged to be outstanding for the second consecutive time, although we work in a way that is so different to everywhere else. This is because despite pushing the boundaries and following what we believe is right of young children, the teaching and learning is recognised as ‘high quality’ and ‘innovative’ seeing young children learn in nature without exception. In our culture, children being outside particularly in cold and wet conditions is not seen as ‘acceptable’ and in addition to that families and even professionals have great concerns over young children taking risks, due to significant health and safety restraints alongside ‘a claim culture’. This making our daily practice very different and outside of the ‘norm’ in our country - something we are very proud of!
Hval Gård and Vepsebolet barnehager is community owned kindergartens run as one unitt. Inside this Unit we find Hval Gård Naturbarnehage.
36 Children, aged 4-6 years are filling the groups. They have a base in purpose built buildings without electrical heating. They are all close to the forests and the sea. The Children and Staff are outside all year and all day. We are situated in some of the most picturesque areas of the Asker community, with short walks to public transport. We also have our own mini buses and boats to access sites further afield.
In our Kindergartens the Children learn that it is better to be outside than inside. In the last year before School, all the Children in Hval Gård barnehage attend the Naturegroups.
We follow the Asker Communities basic values; Openness, Credibility and Mutual Respect. Norway
The Jurta Nature Kindergarten opened in 2010 with a great contribution from parents. In 2013 we were legally registered by the Czech Ministry of Education. And in 2017, due to the national legal act recognising forest kindergartens in the Czech Republic, we became equal to the other ordinary kindergartens.
Jurta resides on a farm in the outskirts of Děčín in the north of the Czech Republic. The kindergarten is located in rural area surrounded with forests, meadows and rivers. There are pigs, cattle, geese, donkeys and sheep on the farm. The children encounter the life and work on the farm every day. They can observe the work on a farm, help feeding animals and learn about everyday life of the animals during the whole year.
As a base we use a wooden furnished hut equipped with a stove and a large bunk bed for the youngest children to have an afternoon nap. In the base there is everything we need to keep the children comfortable, e.g. extra clothes, tools, games, books and other teaching aids. There is a large garden with a place for fire, spaces for play in nature and an orchard next to the base.
There are 30 registered children aged 3-6 years old and 5 qualified staff teachers in the kindergarten. There is also a primary school in the farm area and school-children regularly meet their friends from the kindergarten when they go to school.