Childhood, Environments, Forest School, Nature Kindergarten, Nature Play, Outdoors, Pedagogy, Risk

The Magic of Two Year Olds.

What is so special about being with 2 year olds? Many find this age group challenging, those terrible two’s..the temper tantrums that escalate out of control within minutes, the lack of verbal ability, the short attention span – often perceived to be worse in boys!! I believe this age group is the neglected group…in most EC centres they are either ‘lumped’ with the babies in environments that are not suitable for two year olds or they are all ‘lumped’ together in a group of only two year olds! Imagine having to spend the whole day, every day, very often in one room, with only people your own age group!

Spending time with a 31month old and a 26 month old in two very different ‘wild’ natural environments demonstrated all the best attributes of this age group. Curiosity, independence, capable, enthusiasm, adventurous, risk takers, self risk assessors, investigators, explorers, competent……an endless list! Not one tantrum, not a tear…….I feel this is the most misunderstood age and all they ask for is our time, our understanding, freedom and the opportunities to be allowed to experiment, explore and face appropriate challenges. Being outdoors offers so many of these opportunities and this is where these young children should be allowed to spend time to explore and investigate at their own pace. Lets celebrate those magic twos!
Wildspace – On the beach
Bodhi runs down the beach, stops, cautiously approaches the water, watches, splashes into the shallow waves while looking out to sea,observes  the waves roll in, and using his own judgement runs out of the water when he feels uncomfortable. As his confidence grows he challenged the waves to “come and get me!”

His body language demonstrates his love of the freedom and space available to him, the wind in his face, the ability to freely jump and move, adults who understand and are able to observe but not interfere either verbally or physically…..he did not need adult ‘interference’ he could DO IT!
Wildspace – In the bush
Oskar confidently leads the way, stops to investigate the Dandelions, picks up two sticks and experiments by hitting them together, then against a tree-stump, a burnt hollow tree, a living tree and a fallen branch. He uses the sticks to poke inside natural holes, one disappears into the tree-stump while the other is long enough to allow him to pick it out again.

He hears a noise, stops, assesses then looks to the adults for reassurance – he is lifted and watches the scrambler from the top of the tree-stump. Later he again hears the noise, looks around, steps off the track with the adults and once passed he confidently sets off again – he is in control….he could DO IT!

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