Learning from getting out and about in nature

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by Al Williams

An early childhood group with an environmental focus is making progress 12 months after it was established in Timaru.
Early childhood teacher Donna McPherson launched Haere Mai Ki Waho in March 2016 – translated as “Come outside all of you”, with the vision of sharing more about the environment within and beyond early childhood.
Ms McPherson, who has a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and a certificate in environmental management, said the group had been formed to give children in the region the chance to get out and about with nature.
“Nature will be our toys and with equipment including sticks, stones and water, there will be no plastic fantastics,” she said.
“Most things will be sourced through nature or recycled, or loaned.”
Ms McPherson said there had been a significant amount of research into the benefits of children being in an outdoors learning environment.
The past 12 months had been “awesome and we have had some great experiences”.
“The group remains a non-funding and free opportunity for tamariki and whanau to connect with nature.
“Haere Mai Ki Waho had a regular attendance of three families with a total of eight children.
“We have many that attend when they can and the most tamariki that we had in was during the holidays when we had 17 tamariki.”
During the year, the group had visited Peel Forest twice, visited the Taumatakahu Stream in Temuka three times, visited the South Canterbury Museum amd made regular visits to the Timaru Botanic Gardens and Caroline Bay.