The memories that always come to mind when I think of my childhood are the times I spent outdoors. Nowhere exotic, just our back garden or camping at Trentham Gardens. I wasn’t doing anything particularly structured either; collecting leaves, digging in the soil for worms, listening to the birds singing, all very simple but enjoyable moments.
In recent decades this connection with nature has been rapidly declining. Three-quarters of children spend less than an hour a day outdoors and are turning to screens for entertainment instead, and only one in five children are getting out and enjoying nature.
Nature and the outdoors has a huge impact on children’s learning, physical health and emotional well-being. Unstructured play and experimenting in an environment where there are no walls, no constraints and no timetables helps children to learn at their own pace, helps them to understand how the world works, to understand their own limitations and in turn helps them to become more resilient and independent.