An insight into our connection with Te Taiao – The Natural World, written by one of our Kaiako from Creators Christian Childcare Centre (Forest Lake).
“As kaiako, I believe it is our place to support and educate our tamariki on the importance and value of the natural world. Through involvement and meaningful play, tamariki can gather a rich connection and understanding of the natural world around them.”
The natural world is a space that offers a place of exploration, peace and tranquillity. An environment that supports the growth and development of all. It feeds, nurtures, challenges and confuses us all at once. The natural world offers opportunities for us to explore habitats that are vastly different, that offer diverse environments to support and sustain the growing of 8.7 million differing species, from humans to plants to animals. It holds fertile lands that challenge common thinking, scientific explanation and common understanding. It’s a place to celebrate difference, uniqueness and wonder of the changing times through seasons, environmental changes and exceptional weather patterns. These aspects challenge and frustrate us at times, though the land does support the livelihood of many, it continues to offer a place of research and fascination for others.
Te taiao is a place for all. A place for children, adults, animals and species alike that are nurtured by Papatūānuku. Papatūānuku is the Māori concept and tradition of the land. ‘She’ (the land) is Mother Earth and is “who gives birth to all things; people, trees, birds”. As all things grow and travel through their life span, we all live off the land in one way or another. The land is there for a range of purposes.
As we reflect, we see the importance and abundance that te taiao offers us. This should challenge our thinking and make us aware of the impacts that humankind has on these environments. The environment serves us by providing; land to live on, crops to grow on, learnings, and connects us with past knowledge from the ones who have been before us. This knowledge needs to be treasured and used to expand our current thoughts of our place and responsibilities that we hold as we prepare the land for generations to come. The passing of the knowledge comes through a variety of channels depending on culture, beliefs and religion. We gather, adapt and expand past knowledge to better inform ourselves and our offspring. As kaiako, whānau and members of this land, we need to educate and be kaitiaki (guardians) of our land.
As kaiako, I believe it is our place to support and educate our tamariki on the importance and value of the natural world. Through involvement and meaningful play, tamariki can gather a rich connection and understanding of the natural world around them. Through these interactions, tamariki are offered valuable opportunities to nurture their love of the earth, that supports their development to become guardians of the land.
Research shows the natural world offers a place for children to learn empathy. Through informal, self-initiated exploration, this allows children to research and discover what the natural world provides for them. Through these interactions children become familiar with nature’s environments and elements and become inspired, whilst cultivating their sense of wonder, exploration and imagination.
"You protect what you fall in love with" - Louie Schwartzberg
Ngā mihi nui,
At Creators, we firmly believe in the environment as a third teacher. The benefit of our tamariki being out in and connecting with nature are immeasurable. Check out our “learning models” section of the website to find out more about our commitment to Nature Play – Tata Ki te papatūānuku and how this concept is weaved through our learning environments.