Early Childhood Education and Care News
August 18, 2020
Welcome, this week why children should be encouraged to head outdoors during the cold, wet days of winter and what you need to know if you are thinking about bringing an animal in to your early childhood setting.
Keeping animals in early childhood settings
Animals inspire a sense of delight and curiosity among children and introducing an animal to an early childhood education setting can provide opportunities for educators to involve young children in unique learning experiences and explorations. But whether to have a permanent pet or frequent animal visits throughout the year depends on many factors and requires careful consideration.

Education with living creatures in an early childhood setting requires interacting with animals, both free-living and domestic, recognising that being with or in proximity to animals is valuable and important in its own right.

Research recognises the importance of animals in children's lives and educators can capitalize on this animal-child connection to support learning about the natural world, ecology and relationships. Whether it's a permanent pet, such as a fish, insect or bird, or a short visit by a therapy dog or a farm animal incursion, these encounters offer young children valuable life lessons, stress relief and fun.
Outdoor winter activity makes a lot of sense
There is no denying the benefits of outdoor playtime for children. Playing outside no matter what the season presents a smorgasbord of opportunities to learn through experience. Not only does it promote health and wellbeing through exercise and engagement, it also provides children with opportunities to understand the world around them including the changing of seasons and the life cycle of plants.

Every day can deliver exciting outdoor play experiences and the seasonal change in weather shouldn't create a distinct indoor or outdoor period. In Scandinavian countries children play outside at every opportunity, even in the depth of their winter. In fact, there's a common Finnish saying about weather, which translates roughly to, "There's no such thing as the wrong weather; just the wrong clothing."
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