This year, the children at St John’s Early Learning Centre have fully enjoyed experiences in the ELC garden space. With such a range of activities and areas to explore, we have watched and supported as children engaged with peers while digging, damming creeks before allowing the creek to flow again, potion making, planting and harvesting fruit and vegetables. At times, the children from the Mussared building and the Rectory have shared a picnic outside; at other times children work quietly on their own projects, there is much on offer.
Also this year we have twice hosted workshops run by the Association of Independent Schools, South Australia. At the first workshop Martin Crabb and Libby Worrell showcased the ELC garden space at a Nature at Play Workshop. The group then returned to the AISSA office to plan their own school garden renovations.
On 14 November Libby Worrell, Consultant to the Independent Schools Early Learning teachers, hosted approximately 20 teachers from across Adelaide to tour again. This time the challenge was to explore effective ways to establish rich, authentic and adventurous play in the outdoors. As the visitors walked around the garden, Libby asked them to reflect on connections to their own play spaces and what they were curious about at St John’s Grammar. Returning inside for professional discussions, we shared afternoon tea including fresh scones baked by the 4 year old children.
Our ELC teachers talked to the group about their individual experiences and benefits for engaging with nature, discussing the benefits of outdoor play, the professional development we have attended and the journey we have taken in our research when visiting other centres and schools.
What wonderful experiences the garden has provided for us all.
From the ELC team