“Kids these days don’t get to do any kind of risky play. As a child I was able to do that. It’s a huge thing I’m noticing, with students, not being able to assess their own ability and regulate themselves. I remember just going in the woods, and my mom didn’t really know where I was or what I was doing…just not being monitored. Kids these days aren’t always given that opportunity.”

“We have 3 year olds and 4 year olds. For the 3 year olds, [nature play] is about giving them time and space. At first they just stand there like they don’t know what to do. I’m telling my co-workers, just give them that time and space to kind of just figure it out, and they will! It will go from there and turn into something beautiful. The 4 year olds are a little bit more able to just jump into it, cognitively they can figure it out a little bit more, and they’ve been given the opportunity already. I just kind of take their lead with their play. We see what they are interested in and build off of that.”

“I’ve seen especially kiddos with autism or other social needs, just really blossom in the woods and start to interact more. I remember one kid who did not engage with his peers at all inside and when we got in the woods it was like a light went on and he wanted to be with his friends. In general, there’s not a lot of bickering. It’s funny, in the classroom there’s a million toys, and they’re saying they’re bored. And then we’re out in the woods and there’s none of that. There’s no bored.”

–Karly Wilcox, Barrington NH Early Childhood Learning Center

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