How We Learn

How we learn

Nurture Outdoor Kindergarten’s Nature Nurtures Approach to Early Years education is based on the understanding that children construct their own knowledge of the world through active exploration of their learning environment. Each day at NOK, a child's natural curiosity provides them the motivation to learn and grow as individuals.

We understand that children learn best through play; play that is self-chosen, meaningful, and unstructured by adults.

By definition, play is an act of spontaneous exuberance that isn’t designed to accomplish much of anything in particular. And yet the ubiquity of play in childhood suggests that it must be serving some special function.Alison Gopnik

Through play, children can fully engage with their experiences, becoming wholly consumed in what they are doing. And through intense concentration comes discoveries, answers, questions, and a sense of achievement and purpose.

Our skilled and experienced practitioners facilitate an environment filled with lively discussion, collaboration, social interaction and play. They understand that learning journeys are unique to each child, and children proceed on individual timelines.

Children are given the space and time to question, experiment, and reflect on their ideas as they explore their world.

Problem solving skills develop as children actively pursue meaning, both independently and co-operatively, particularly with their peers. Mixed age groups allow older children to scaffold play for younger ones, as well as encouraging children to care for each other.

Through careful observation and authentic assessments, our practitioners develop an awareness of what each child needs, and how each child creates meaning. This is essential if adults are to effectively support a child’s learning journey.

Adults support children’s play by providing resources, and facilitating and sharing in experiences and interactions that challenge and engage children at just the right level. Adults are careful to leave behind their own agenda when joining children in play; rather, they focus on understanding and supporting the child’s agenda.

We have injected ourselves far too heavily into something that should be natural to children. We are guilty of micromanaging children’s play to the point where it no longer resembles actual play, and is now some sort of play mutant...When we have no real plan (that is, the plan belongs to the children) we need to expect the unexpected. We need to be more tuned in to the play, we need to be more responsive, we need to be able to think on our feet.Nicole Halton

By allowing children to take the lead with their learning, we ensure that all children learn and progress at a rate that is right for them throughout their time with us at NOK.

To retain their sense of wonder, children need adults who honour the way they learn. A wealth of open-ended play - with simple materials - can set children on the road to being confident individuals with a lively interest in life.

Bruce, McNair & Siencyn 2008