Big Fat Smile joins #NatureForAll

CONTRIBUTORS

In the beautiful Sydney Harbour National Park in late 2018 Big Fat Smile joined more than 25 organisations at the inaugural #NatureForAll Australia Forum.

Our representative attended the forum to provide a voice for our children, families and communities. Specifically, we articulated our support for children’s rights to a safe, clean natural environment and promote increased access to nature. At the meeting, we pledged to train 20 staff in nature play.

We recognise that children can gain emotional, social and physical benefit from spending time in nature.

– Jenni Hutchins, Chief Executive Officer, Big Fat Smile

In December 2018, Big Fat Smile contracted Dr Amanda Lloyd, of Outdoor Connections to run three training sessions for our FUN CLUB staff. From a rainy day to a scorching day, our educators braved the elements to learn about scavenger hunt walks, story plays, shelter building, outdoor risk assessment, beach activities and nature-based games. The course sought to increase the confidence of FUN CLUB staff to take children outdoors – whether that be an excursion to the beach, the Illawarra escarpment for bushwalking, school grounds or neighbourhood parks.

Jenni Hutchins, Chief Executive Officer, Big Fat Smile explained that “increasingly parents are living in urban areas, are time-poor and are reliant on Outside School Hours Care services. We recognise that children can gain emotional, social and physical benefit from spending time in nature, whether it be an excursion to the beach during the vacation care (school holidays) or exploring bushy areas of school grounds and local parks. We have trained our FUN CLUB educators in the basic principles of outdoor learning and nature play. As role models, if our educators feel comfortable and enjoy nature, then our students are more likely to be relaxed and connect with nature. For us, the natural environment offers many healthy, safe and fun play-based learning opportunities that should be experienced during childhood.

As role models, if our educators feel comfortable and enjoy nature, then our students are more likely to be relaxed and connect with nature.

– Jenni Hutchins, Chief Executive Officer, Big Fat Smile

Providing childhood experiences in nature is good for children and our organisation. We believe that parents want their children to get out into nature more often to balance the screen time that is omnipresent in their lives. We are responding to this demand and in doing so, our children and parents are happy. #NatureForAll is one of the ways which we can bring our organisational vision statement to life: We enrich the lives and minds of our children and families in their communities.”

In February 2019, Big Fat Smile joined #NatureForAll.