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EDUCATION / Aug ‘2016

A focus on discovery centres and Outdoor Play

EDUCATION / AUG ‘2016

A focus on discovery centres and Outdoor Play

When Pokémon-Go was released in Australia a few months ago, parents rejoiced.

Words MARAGON

The application, which resurrected the popular 1990’s Japanese cartoon and card game, Pokémon in a virtual reality context, utilises a sophisticated global positioning system to encourage outdoor play for both children and adults and encourages walking, walking and more walking to ascend through the levels of the game.

This mobile application, which has been a huge success worldwide, not only encourages children to get outside in the fresh air but also fosters an innate love of discovery and learning as players are encouraged to stop at ‘pit stops’ which offer useful tidbits of information on heritage buildings, street arts and iconic city attractions. In this case, Pokémon Go is acting as a vehicle through which natural curiosity and a love of discovery of our surrounding environment can be enabled.

So, what is discovery and how can it be most effectively encouraged in childcare centres?

"Maragon Early Learning, a premium childcare brand operating in Western Australia, acknowledges exploration and discovery throughout a child’s first 2000 days as paramount."

Maragon Early Learning, a premium childcare brand operating in Western Australia, acknowledges exploration and discovery throughout a child’s first 2000 days as paramount. Based on this acknowledgement, Maragon Early Learning have built their newest offering; a state-of-the-art early learning and discovery centre, specifically for the purpose of fostering sound learning experiences and a sense of discovery.

As we know from the launch of Pokémon Go, the outdoor environment provides a landscape on which a multitude of discovery activities can take place. At Maragon Early Learning centres, the possibilities that an outdoor play area can provide are endless. Featuring purpose-built playgrounds, inspired by nature and constructed with materials such as logs, natural stone, and beautiful indigenous colored gravel, the outdoor play spaces at Maragon’s Wellard Centre offers a host of sensory, tactile, social and physical experiences.

On a tactile level, children can experience the difference in texture underneath their feet as they wander from soft grass to treated wood to rough stones. The surprise of rougher textures will immediately foster risk-assessment abilities, which are crucial to prepare a child for challenges that life may hold. Furthermore, the contrast of a smooth slide, juxtaposed against a wooden play structure allows an abundance of discovery opportunities. Maragon Early Learning’s thoughtfully designed and custom-built outdoor play offering provide ‘new eyes’ through which learning through play is amplified.

Cognitively, we know that outdoor play opportunities offer a plethora of developmental benefits. The exposure to fresh air, for one, is of critical importance to sound brain function and development. The ability to establish a connection to nature, the community and the world outside of the classroom is also critical, as it provides context for all learning experiences.

"Maragon Early Learning recognises the importance of discovery for children’s development and wellbeing and provide fruitful discovery ‘landscapes’"

Socially, outdoor play inspires adventure and the introduction of boundaries and rules, which can be widely applied to social situations. Outdoor play often provides the backdrop for a multitude of rule-based games, which develop both numeracy and social development. These rules create boundaries and impart a sense of what is socially and morally acceptable and which behaviours toe the line.

Physically, play in our outdoor environments encourages the development of sound fundamental gross movement skills through running, climbing, rolling, sliding and jumping. Fundamental movement skills are the foundation of future fine motor and complex skills development and its importance cannot be emphasised enough.

Maragon Early Learning recognises the importance of discovery for children’s development and wellbeing and provide fruitful discovery ‘landscapes’, in which bountiful discovery activities lay the foundation of a lifelong love of learning.

www.maragon.com.au

Maragon Early Learning, a premium childcare brand operating in Western Australia.