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Nature-Based Early Learning| Education

It is not only teachers who have a big impact on the early development and learning of children. Parents, who are their child’s first educators play an even bigger role in than they may perceive. From an early age, the child starts mirroring their parents’ actions and mannerisms.

Research suggests that early childhood is also a critical time for establishing a positive connection with the natural world.

Concerns that today’s children do not have the same opportunities to experience nature as previous generations did, is a rising worry for many. But there a few ways to implement some nature-based learning to bring back the old ways that we all miss!

So, what can we do?

We understand that in the summer months in Qatar are not ideal for children to be occupied outdoors due to the extreme heat, but the pleasantly cool temperatures in the winter months can be taken advantage of. The winter months are a perfect opportunity for us to get outside with our children and families to enjoy some nature- based activities that will contribute to our children’s early learning.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Dirt digging

  • Watch worms wriggle through the soil

  • Gaze at clouds

  • Jump in puddles

  • Listen to birds sing

  • Smell fresh-cut grass

  • Collect seeds

  • Construct things with twigs and mud

  • Gardening and planting

  • Arrange a nature-based playdate

Benefits of nature-based early learning:

· Nature restores children’s attention

· Nature relieves children’s stress

· Nature helps children learning self-discipline

· Outdoor learning can improve physical fitness

· Improve social interactions

· Promote creativity

Recommendations of nature-based places to visit in Qatar:

· Ras Abrouq Rock Formations

· Khor Al Adaid Inland Sea

· Simaisma Beach

· Al Dakhira Natural Reserves

· Dahl Al Misfir Cave

· Baladna Farm

· Al Bidda Park

If you would like to learn more about this, then we can recommend to you a book that is available on Amazon which specializes in nature-based learning for young children. It is called:

Nature-Based Learning for Young Children: Anytime, Anywhere, on Any Budget Paperback by Julie Powers (Author), and Sheila Williams Ridge (Author).

The book features ideas for educators of all levels of experience and knowledge of environments, such as forests, cities, prairies, coastal areas, and deserts. It also features background information on a wide range of nature topics, reproducible activities, and other resources.

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible give this a chance and we would love to hear further recommendations of places to go that are naturistic and activity filled to influence a nature-based approach to learning.

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