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January/February 2010
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/wonder-newsletter/5019103/

Experiencing Nature: An Opportunity for Pedagogic Quality
by Bowine Wijffels, Cailin Partners and Marc Veekamp, Veldwerk Nederland

A natural do-and-discover garden at a child daycare centre, an after-school forest group, raincoats always at hand . . . more and more child care centres in the ­Netherlands are beginning to see the ­value of nature in child care. Experiencing nature appears to contribute positively to the development of the young child. The organisations Veldwerk Nederland, ROC Koning Willem 1 College, ROC Landstede, Buitenkans Participatieve Groenprojecten, and Cailin Partners carried out research about the present stage of developments in the Netherlands and abroad: what the possibilities are for child care centres in the Netherlands and what obstacles exist for a further development of nature experience in child care.

For the introduction of successfully ­experiencing nature programmes in the child care centres, four elements appear to be crucial:

• Competence of the pedagogic staff members;
• Inclusion of the principles of experiencing nature in the policies of the child care centre;
• Involvement and agreement of the parents; and
• Presence of a suitable outdoor facility, because experiencing nature can, of course, only be experienced outdoors.

Only if these four conditions can be realised do we have a reasonable chance that ...

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