Flower arranging, baking and a shadow room are not things many would expect at an early childhood centre, but they are daily occurrences at Mandurah’s newest childcare.
When setting up Nurture Through Nature, owners Marion and Sarah Briers set out to create a holistic way of caring for children.
Rather than creating a place which was filled with plastic structures and followed strict timetables, the local centre is one – for the most part – filled with natural materials and sees the children deciding what they want to do, and when.
“We believe the children are capable of making their own decisions and we trust them,” Marion said.
“We want to support their play and learning, and provide possibilities to provoke this.
“There are a lot of childcare centres in Mandurah and we’re not commenting on what they do, but we wanted to offer something different.”
For example, the children’s day could begin with gardening, by midday they could be creating something with clay and the afternoon could pose the opportunity to make shadows with a projector.
“It’s an authentic learning experience based on real life experiences,” Sarah said.
“We base what we have on offer on the children’s fascination.”
Since Valentine’s Day, Sarah said the Nurture Through Nature children have been fascinated with flowers.
As a response, the carers have made sure there have been plenty of chances for the children to arrange flowers to take home, learn about the blooming process, and even grind up the petals to see what colours they can make with the pigment.
Sarah said as the children’s interests change, so do their opportunities to learn and create.
“At the moment we have a child that loves to collect things, so we make sure there are plenty of things for her to do that with,” she said.
“We have another child who is obsessed with things which roll, so we have things like marble tracks for him.”
The centre’s care also extends to beyond the children, with Marion saying she was hoping to get the rest of the family involved with certain events such as their upcoming installation of a ‘river’ bed.
Nurture Through Nature is also hosting a Nurturing Mums group from 6.30-8pm on March 10, to give the chance for local mums to make new friends in the community.
March 10 also marks the centre’s free open day, where from 9am-12pm families are invited to see Nurture Through Nature, and check out the nature experiences and farm animals.
Nurture Through Nature is at 12 Truarn Street, Mandurah. Go to their Facebook page for more information.