Benefits of outdoor play discussed at Ceduna workshop

NATURE PLAY WORKSHOP: Tracy Zippel, Sarah Sutter, Alysha Parsons and Emma Warmington discussing the importance of unstructured play and loose parts. Picture: Supplied
NATURE PLAY WORKSHOP: Tracy Zippel, Sarah Sutter, Alysha Parsons and Emma Warmington discussing the importance of unstructured play and loose parts. Picture: Supplied

Nature Play SA workshops held in Ceduna last month found Eyre Peninsula educators, community and local government value time in nature for children.

The three workshops explored how unstructured outdoor play in nature can benefit children’s physical and mental health development.

Participants included local teachers, health care workers, professionals, mums, dads, grandparents, council members and staff.

Natural resource officer Tayla Bowden said each session was well attended.

“We hope now that these conversations lead to opportunities for children of all ages to have access to unstructured play and natural play spaces, away from escalating screen time,” she said.

The educator workshop attracted 36 participants.

There was representation from across the region including Ceduna Area School, Ngura Yadurirn Preschool, Koonibba Preschool, Penong Primary School, Karcultaby Area School, Crossways Lutheran School and Streaky Bay Childrens Centre.

Natasha Gill from Karcultaby Area School said she was excited to develop nature play in the school community.

“I can already picture the students at our site that will benefit from this play,” she said.

“I can picture their faces and the positive role it will have on their mental health and wellbeing.”

The evening community workshop attracted 24 people.

The following day’s session involved the staff from both the Ceduna and Streaky Bay councils.

Streaky Bay staff discussed implementing nature play within existing play spaces.

Joy Welshman from the Ceduna District Council said she was impressed.

“The workshop was excellent,” she said.

“I will be pushing the nature play concept with councillors and staff.”

Nature Play SA, established by the South Australian government to promote unstructured outdoor play in nature, presented the Ceduna workshops with Simon Hutchinson from Climbing Tree.

Funding came from the federal government’s National Landcare Program Targeted Area Grants.

Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula said it would like to thank all of those who attended and showed interest in this event.

The organisation also wanted to thank Nature Play SA staff who did a fantastic job demonstrating the importance of nature play in the community and facilitating conversation.

For more information about Nature Play visit the Nature Play SA website at www.natureplaysa.org.au or go to Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula at www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/eyrepeninsula/get-involved/schools.