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Connecting well-being, behaviour and play with Niki Buchan

May 27, 2020 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Outline: Experience and research shows that play is critical for healthy human development at all ages, but often seen as frivolous when it comes to children and education particularly once children go to school. There is increasing concern about children’s mental health; the increase in children diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety, depression, stress, PTSD and challenging behaviour. We will look at the link between these and the reduction of children’s sense of freedom and time to play. In an academic focussed and risk averse culture true play opportunities have become limited, playgrounds have become over supervised, over structured, over safe and often downright BORING! We will explore the role of play in educational settings for children of all ages and how this can also be incorporated in a formal school setting using examples from practice. We will explore the researched benefits of play on children’s emotional, social, physical, academic and mental health and well-being. We will investigate and share environments that promote and encourage children to play, to be engaged, to challenge themselves, to take academic, emotional, social and physical risks. We will look at the adult role in supporting risky play, the importance of assessing not just the risk but the benefit to children of creating engaging play opportunities that may involve an element of challenge. We will share a range of inspiring, inexpensive and achievable ideas creating high quality play opportunities using loose parts in any playground. Spaces that will encourage well-being, engagement, imagination, creativity, gross and fine motor development, social and emotional development, risk taking, problem solving, science, technology, engineering, maths, literacy, in fact ALL developmental and learning domains. We will explore child friendly documentation that makes the incidental learning and development in children’s play visible.

Age Range applicable: Kindy – Grade 2
Teaching Standards: AITSL-1,3,4,6 | QSA-1,2,3,4,5

Presenter: Niki Buchan is Senior Educational Consultant with Natural Learning Early Childhood Consultancy and Real World Learning Consultancy. With a biomedical background, she has lived and worked in South Africa and Scotland and has been calling Australia home since 2011. She is passionate about the environment, animals and the people of Australia. Niki has a great love for the outdoors and has been working with both adults and young children in very consultative, naturalistic and sensorial environments both indoors and outdoors for more than 35 years. She works internationally as a conference keynote speaker, nature pedagogue, mentor and author and has been invited to work in the UK, USA, Canada, Iceland, Sweden, South Korea, Norway, Denmark and South Africa. Niki has developed a reputation as a strong advocate for children’s right to a high-quality childhood with a deep concern about children’s mental health and trauma. She trusts children as being capable and competent including their ability to assess and take their own risks. Niki believes children have a right to regular access to nature and to have their voices heard in matters that affect them. She is considered a leading voice in promoting nature-based practice and is the author of Children in Wild Nature, A Practical Approach to Nature-based Practice, Adventurous Play and STEM Detectives. Niki is the mother of four adult children, an adventurer, keen photographer, seldom seen without a camera in her hand and is usually surrounded by children! Website: www.naturallearning.net.au


May 27, 2020
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
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