Nature ENG

The Benefits of the contacts with Nature

“There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colours are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.” — E. Lawrence

At Kiddywiks we are well aware that the benefits of nature for child's development are endless. Because nature is ever changing, it provides countless opportunities for discovery, creativity, and problem solving. The natural world inspires children to think, question, make suppositions, and develop creative minds. At Kiddywinks we have big wonderful outdoor spaces including a terraced vegetable garden, big gardens with olive trees and a forest.

Forest School Sessions
 Kiddywinks Forest School sessions take place in our woodland setting. This experience is safe, regular and repeated.Trust is central and the focus is on the holistic development of the child. During our sessions learning is facilitated through play based and as far as possible child-initiated and child-led experiences.

“All the world is my school and all humanity is my teacher.” G. Whitman 

Kiddywinks Vegetable Garden
“Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas” — E. Murray
In growing our garden we are supported by an agronomist who works regularly with our children and teachers. Children experience at first hand everything is happening around them. They enjoy totally and deeply only what they know and understands. They respect, protect and defend anything they loves. In the Forest School pedagogy the seasonal rhythm and the natural phenomena are very important to develop an understanding about how the world works and our vegetable garden plays an important role in developing this awareness in our children. They have fun, play and develop self-confidence by spending time in the garden planting and growing, preparing and using their own food. Most children love digging in the soil, getting dirty, creating things and watching plants grow. Planting and growing gardens is like digging and finding treasures. Our students can watch things grow, smell the different aromas, plant, take care of seeds, water plants and participate in cooking activities.
The tecnique we have chosen to adopt is synergetic gardening which is a consolidated nature-centred practice  through which soil is fertile and the crops are good without the use of fertilisers or pesticides.
Synergetic gardening is based on the attempt to facilitate the biological processes of nature where the soil is the life-giving substance for the plants. A healthy and protected soil is attractive for micro-organisms, useful insects, enzymes and bacterias which contribute to healthy crops and help in creating an harmonious and fertile environment.
The cultivation on pallets helps to realize above-ground flower beds which are more functional for younger children. At the same time the possibility to create sinuous shaped pallets rich in different flowers and aromatic plants contributes to create a space where aesthetics play an important role in discovering the wonders of nature.
Another aspect originated by the observation of nature is actually based on the combination of different vegetables, fruit, aromatic plants and flowers.
Plants have synergetic or opponent relationships . This means that some of them cooperate and some hinder each other. This is due to some characteristics of plants which can attract useful insects and alienate dangerous ones.
The combination of different species is very useful to have a biodiverse garden able to protect and heal itself.  But it also becomes an effective educational tool thanks to the principle of cooperation and not competition linked to it which can be vehicled to children while they are working in the garden.
The synergetic garden immersed in nature facilitates natural learning and helps children to build an environmental awareness.
Activities in a synergetic garden tend to show the strong connection between the free expression of children self-motivated learning and self-fertility of the soil.
In the end a Synergetic garden represents a small universe made up of millions of elements, micro-organisms, plants, animals and of course active and environmentally friendly children.
The educational benefi ts and development of new skills and knowledge include:
- Understanding - as children learn about cause and effect (for example, plants won’t thrive without water, weeds compete with plants etc).
 - Self-confidence - from achieving their goals and enjoying the food they have grown. 
- Reasoning and discovery - as they learn about science, botany, nutrition and simple construction.
- Cooperation - including shared play activity and teamwork. 
- Nutrition - learning about sources of fresh food and healthy food.
- Cooking - Preparing food, using utensils and the science of cooking.
- Safety and hygiene - In preparation of food, use of tools and utensils, washing foods and hands, eating safe foods from nature.
- Creates a sense of belonging – working together with others and maintaining connections to their home life’s and the environment that surrounds them.
- Reflects and shapes Identity – Use of cultural foods and seeds. Creates a homelike environment. 
- Children learn skills that integrate with several subjects, such as math, science and social studies, physical education as well as several educational goals, including personal and social responsibility.