Curtin Explorer: A day of nature play

ECE staff and student volunteers at Curtin Explorer
Left to right: Jenny, Megan, Elizabeth S., Elizabeth R., Katelyn & Anita

Late last year, on Saturday 8th December 2018, Nature Play WA and Curtin University collaborated to host the Curtin Explorer event. Curtin Explorer presented an exciting opportunity for children and families to visit Curtin’s beautiful Bentley campus and enjoy a day of play. I was glad to be invited to contribute and I teamed up with my Early Childhood Education colleagues Jenny Jay and Jane Merewether to do so.

Jenny, Jane, and I decided to focus on two experiences at the Early Childhood Education station. The first was a special Curtin University edition of Nature Play Bingo, which invited children and their families to explore and investigate the campus. The second was weaving and winding with natural & repurposed materials, which gave children and families the opportunity to engage in a creative experience in a mindful and imaginative way.

On the day, we were fortunate to have the support of our colleague Megan Bankes and four student volunteers: Elizabeth R., Elizabeth S., Katelyn, and Anita. We worked together to set up our station at Henderson Court with a huge array of materials including gum nuts, leaves, sticks, bark, fabric, thread, and bicycle wheels. As the campus filled with children and families, we welcomed many to sit with us under the trees and have a go at creating something.

The creations were incredible. Dolls, jewellry, magic wands, decorative mobiles, Christmas decorations – we saw it all! Families shared with us that they loved the zen atmosphere and the chance to work together and see what they could come up with.

Meanwhile, other families took the opportunity to explore the campus with our Nature Bingo board. We had designed the board to open up different ways of seeing the campus. I had trialled it myself before the event and while searching for things in nature that were sparkly, squishy, bumpy, buoyant, and more, I discovered that there were countless matches – it was all about which path you took and what you could find. It was wonderful hearing from the children and families who had a go at our bingo board, who shared that it was an adventurous and exciting way to experience the campus!

Contributing to Curtin Explorer was an absolute thrill and I’m so glad the Early Childhood Education team had the chance to be a part of it. I am also deeply grateful for the support from our student volunteers, who dove into facilitating the activities with enthusiasm and care. What a wonderful day of nature play it was!

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