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Published on Nov 21, 2015

This film was created during a week of exploring and creating within the natural environment near Quirindi on the Liverpool Plains with the children, educators and parents of Quirindi Preschool Kindergarten and myself. The environment was made available by an elderly couple who own it - 10 minutes drive from the town centre.

The preschool's director Alison Thompson is committed to environmental learning and teaching, she says "The successful project quickly evolved from teaching children about sustainability into a new style of outdoor learning which offers a range of social, emotional, educational and health benefits.Our philosophy is to foster children to be aware of the environment they live in. This need to be able to be transposed to any environment : city, metropolitan, rural and remote. “ ( paraphrased from an article by Lucy Donoghue in North West Magazine).

I was employed as a consultant, initially to assist the educators engaging in new ways with the children via their environment and materials within the preschool. This grew into weekly bush excursions and this particular week-long everyday immersive experience. Kaitlyn Graham,an educator at the preschool, compiled and edited this short film 'A snapshot of our time In Nature' from footage captured during that week in late Oct 2015.

Quirindi Preschool Kindergarten is located in the Liverpool plains region of NSW, one of the most productive food growing areas on the planet and under threat of coal mining expansion. Even in this fertile land it seems children are spending much time indoors and on screens.

The creative fruits of this experience can be gleaned from the footage and the delight of all ages, engaging with the natural world is palpable. . The benefits of this type of learning go way beyond creativity, nurturing emotional, social and physical congruence and resourceful thinking.

A response to this program COLLABORATIONS WITH NATURE WITH CHILDREN by Newcastle University lecturer (Industrial Design) Warren A Reilly sums up it's value succinctly.
"It appears (to me anyway) that an understanding of nature at an early age is a powerful tool. It not only introduces the concept of a 'system' in which all elements contribute to the whole, it also gives context to their own lives. This idea of 'connectedness' becomes a backdrop for their lives as they develop their understanding of the world. That all things are connected, that 'problems' are not just local they are much broader, that their value is building the strength of the system that supports them...etc It is no coincidence that the technology race is now looking to the Biosphere for guidance in the 21st Century. Independent of our own individual beliefs, the living system is a library of more than 30 million well resolved 'solutions' to 'problems'. The truly incredible aspect is that the living system is entirely sustainable on all levels - there is no waste. For a child to grow up with an understanding of reality in a way that releases their potential to be whatever they want, and yet is absolutely consistent and reliable in its structure and content, at all ages of their lives, is the greatest gift we can give the next generation - surely."

This project is ongoing.... visit http://www.shonawilson.com/blog/ for more updates and background

Shona Wilson 2015 - artist /facilitator


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