The Value of Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Framework in Relation to Outdoor Play

Topic Progress:

The ecological framework has become a foundation for understanding how children’s life experiences relate to their engagement in outdoor play.  How early learning teachers define children, families, childhood, and play will depend on their:


Research suggests that early learning teachers who engage in professional development related to outdoor play are more likely to provide children with experiences that support children’s development. When adults have the knowledge about why children require freedom to experiment, observe, engage in trial and error play, and act upon their curiosity, they are better able to support providing children with an array of experiences in the early learning program and community.  Children who are exposed to adults that have had interesting outdoor experiences, are curious about exploring and discovering, and value outdoor play will most likely have rich outdoor play and learning experiences.


Look at the picture above.  What, as an early learning teacher do you see, feel and think about the experience that the children are engaged in?  How are your knowledge, life experiences, educational background, sense of curiosity, values and philosophy influencing your response to this photo? 

Use the comments box to record your answers.


  1. Mikayla

    i see a lot of pure curiosity an sense of wonder within the children. While they are learning about their own psychical boundaries and limits. I find this so amazing because the look so engaged with their surroundings

  2. Hongyun Zheng

    As a early learning teacher I see all children were engaged ,peaceful and joyful when they went outside ! I believe children would like to talk about this activity with their parents . then parents maybe spent more outdoor time with their kids because they know how happy children are when they explore nature! then their life style maybe changed.

  3. Angela George

    I see a group of confident little boys playing on the edge of the river in late spring or early summer and climbing down a pile of rocks that lead to the river’s edge. I think that one boy is already considering on throwing the rock he has picked up, while others are more focused on climbing or conquering the rock hill and reaching the shore line.
    I see that the teacher views the children as capable, and obviously trusts the children’s ability to gauge the risks and also recognize how this environment is also the teacher.
    I feel that the opportunities are almost endless for activities for extended learning, for communication, teamwork, problem solving, building on gross motor skills and critical thinking, building confidence and self esteem, learning about wate safety…
    My own experiences and love for nature help me to see so many possibilities for these children with activities for sciences, fort building, fairy gardens, medicine gardens, rock skipping…

  4. Barb Keller

    I believe that the children know their boundaries. They are curious about the rocks, they are exploring what they see. I love taking children outdoors I so wish there was a creek or lake we could expierence.

  5. Amanda Rossiter

    I see children who are able to set their own boundaries in the space provided. Children have the freedom to explore the area without an adult over them. There is opportunities for gross motor, fine motor, social and emotional skills as well as sensory experiences. This photo makes me feel happy and excited, I wish I was there to hear what they were saying! I believe in these kind of experiences and always love to engage in children’s curiosity. I value the outdoors and what can be taught.

  6. Jo White

    I see children playing with and amongst rocks near a river, I feel they are comfortable in their surroundings and enjoying their time, I think the these children are sharing their curiousity for the rocks. I am an outdoors person spending much of my time outdoors, no matter the weather, I take my grandchildren on excursions and hikes weekly. I am knowledgeable of plants and outdoor living, I love being outside.

  7. Suditha Somatillaka

    I see children exploring rocks, touching them and feeling the weight of them. I feel that I must step back and let my own fears of being so close to the stream not influence the moment. I think the experience of the moment is so incredible.
    As an educator, I go back to my childhood and the joy of playing next to a stream, feeling the spray of the water, taking risks, having fun, and enjoying the feel of the fresh air.

  8. Rachael Ewan

    Look at the picture above. What, as an early learning teacher do you see, feel and think about the experience that the children are engaged in? How are your knowledge, life experiences, educational background, sense of curiosity, values and philosophy influencing your response to this photo?
    I see a group of children interested in exploring rocks and moving and balancing in this area. One boy looks as though he wants to throw the rock towards the boys and the creek. I see this as an area for learning for the boy. “What will happen if you throw the rock that way?” I also wonder if they are looking at something specific or just digging for rocks. The close proximity to the water makes me a little nervous as I don’t know the children’s capabilities and as an educator I would position myself closer to the water. I also can’t tell the depth of the water or if the children have any prior learning around water safety. The feeling of freedom to explore outdoors and the curiosity shown by the boys gives me a feeling of joy and peace.

  9. Robert M Brown

    Look at the picture above. What, as an early learning teacher do you see, feel and think about the experience that the children are engaged in? How are your knowledge, life experiences, educational background, sense of curiosity, values and philosophy influencing your response to this photo?

    This is something that occurs in a program that I work in almost everyday. The only difference is that the children are throwing rocks in the Ocean rather than a creek. These types of environments allow for gross and fine motor skill development and a wide range of big body movement that all the children in my program really enjoy. The children I work with have also developed quite a few different themes and explore dramatic play in one of their favourite places the refer to as the “Octopus cave”. Personally I enjoy environments like this, and spend a lot of time in settings similar to the photo. I consider myself fortunate to have access to the outdoor environment that I do.

  10. Lyndsay Titchener

    I love seeing children near the rocks and river exploring, in nature as long as there is an adult near by. I think it is also important to set boundaries and talk about water safety before making this trip.

  11. lisa.rodney

    What, as an early learning teacher do you see, feel and think about the experience that the children are engaged in? How are your knowledge, life experiences, educational background, sense of curiosity, values and philosophy influencing your response to this photo? I see exploration, engagement, interest, power, curiosity, freedom, risk, and big body experiences. Interesting that all of the children in this image are boys. I love seeing this type of experience and can only imaging the wonder and curiosity this would spark in their minds. I grew up playing outdoors a lot and had lots of experiences away from adults out in the woods, near brooks and the ocean so this is childhood to me. We’ve gone so far to the other extreme of being hypervigilant so it’s is lovely to see this type of play returning.

  12. Krista Ambrose

    I love this picture. I so wish that I could take kids to explore near a creek. These children look like they are so happy exploring. They are using so many different skills and learning so much. They are in nature. They are learning about rocks and water. They are learning about the environment.

  13. Jasmine Park

    What, as an early learning teacher do you see, feel and think about the experience that the children are engaged in? How are your knowledge, life experiences, educational background, sense of curiosity, values and philosophy influencing your response to this photo?

    I looked at the picture and felt children are explorers! How exciting! They are exploring new environment, touching and feeling different shape of rocks, making a balance, enjoying risky play, making hypothesis and experimenting (thinking about throwing rocks into the river).. As mighty learners, children are learning so many things while they are playing!

  14. Danielle Cossey-Sutton

    Look at the picture above. What, as an early learning teacher do you see, feel and think about the experience that the children are engaged in? How are your knowledge, life experiences, educational background, sense of curiosity, values and philosophy influencing your response to this photo?

    When I look at this picture I see joy and excitement and learning! Children are taking risks by being close to the water, but learning from the land and their peers, which encourages deeper learning! This picture is beautiful because students are paying attention to their surroundings and their peers and not the camera, and using the land as part of their play!

  15. Katarina Ninkovic

    When I saw this picture i literally said out loud OH MY GOD!!! Some staff I work with have heart attacks when children play in puddles that are too deep, let alone a creek!! this picture is so beautiful in so many ways!!!! The fact that children are given this opportunity, and I’m sure the adult who was with them showed motivation and not fear, really helped them get more out of this experience

  16. Shirley Robinson

    I see the children learning how to balance and watching around them how to see with being carful around the water.

  17. Michelle Davis

    What, as an early learning teacher do you see, feel and think about the experience that the children are engaged in? How are your knowledge, life experiences, educational background, sense of curiosity, values and philosophy influencing your response to this photo?

    I love this picture. I grew up near lakes and rivers, with a healthy respect for water and its power. I love what is happening in this picture. The children are gaining so much knowledge about their world. Gravity and consequence by throwing the rocks. They are so engaged and I find joy in looking at it.

  18. Shannon Stewart

    What, as an early learning teacher do you see, feel and think about the experience that the children are engaged in? How are your knowledge, life experiences, educational background, sense of curiosity, values and philosophy influencing your response to this photo?

    As a child I spent countless hours throwing rocks into the river. I remember my brother and I skipping rocks at the river and competing to see who would skip the most. I can imagine the children in this play. They can hear the rushing water of the river, the sun and wind on their faces, maybe they find bugs under rocks, lift heavy rocks and small ones, bracing their bodies as they through them. My experience growing up engaging in this type of play informs how I feel about this play. I believe children should have these experiences and I am comfortable with this play.

  19. Jessica Garner

    I see a wonderful play experience in the photo above! I think earlier in my career, I would have looked to others to try to understand whether playing in this environment is “allowed”. I did not have much exposure to outdoor environments as a child, so I would be unsure how to navigate and guide children through this experience safely. As an adult, I have started to explore natural environments myself and have worked to increase my knowledge about outdoor play. I now feel much more comfortable navigating situations like the one in the photo. My own curiosity and excitement drive me to explore environments such as this with children. Even still, I would carry some concern about the risks of sharp rocks or fast-moving water.

  20. Marianne Glufka

    When I look at the picture I see children climbing rocks, looking for different types of rocks, picking rocks up throwing them in the water. They are interacting with each other and exploring the rocks the water and watching there peers do the same thing. I wish All children could experience this type of play. It keeps their mind and their body healthy and interacting and nature.

  21. Heather Brekkaas

    The children are in nature and learning about what is around them. How to be careful on the rocks, what may live near the creek, and they get some gross motor skills by balancing so they don’t fall. The mom is me would be nervous about the water (though it seems very shallow) and about the boy that looks like he’s going to throw a rock. I would probably teach him to find a quiet area and throw into the river to avoid hurting anyone.

  22. Grace Smith

    What I see is that the children are exploring nature, their are full of curiosity, excitement, discovery, and seems that learning is occurring while playing.

  23. Lisa Goldsack

    As I look at the picture it makes me want to climb down there with the children and hunt for rocks to throw with them.

  24. Tammy

    The children are very engaged in the play they are involved in. Some people might say it’s risky, or dangerous because it is close to water and they are throwing rocks, but my beliefs are that it is safe, they will learn a lot about their environment and their own abilities through this type of play.

  25. Amanda Funk

    I see a group of children who are engaged. They are able to explore naturally, experience their bodies and discover things for themselves when they are ready. I don’t see fear, guilt, shame or boredom.

  26. Jody Anderson

    When I initially looked at the picture I wondered how deep the water was. If it is a river I would feel nervous they could fall in, if it is a shallow creek I would feel more comfortable. It reminds me of the creek that the kids from our program go to and love and reminds me of how much they learn when they go there. I think they are hunting for something, maybe insects? I wonder about the boy with the rock and wonder if he would throw it in the direction of where his peers are exploring. I wonder how often they get to go there and know that they are forunate that they have easy access to a natural place to explore like the one in the photo.

  27. Dana Wilson

    Look at the picture above. What, as an early learning teacher do you see, feel and think about the experience that the children are engaged in? How are your knowledge, life experiences, educational background, sense of curiosity, values and philosophy influencing your response to this photo?

    I see children engaging with and enjoying being in the outdoors. I see so much learning taking place, cognitive, social, emotional. They are learning physics rocks are heavy they come down fast or when thrown heavy items sink in water. They are learning to negotiate, play and interact with peers. If someone hurts themselves or others with a rock they are learning compassion, empathy and comforting skills. They are engaging in risky play, climbing on boulders, kicking up sharp rocks, being close to creek that they could fall into. Such a wonderful outdoor learning environment!

  28. Annette Casey

    I see this picture and wish all children experience this type of exploration and play. The learning, sharing. new friendships all take place there.

  29. Amanda Christison

    Look at the picture above. What, as an early learning teacher do you see, feel and think about the experience that the children are engaged in? How are your knowledge, life experiences, educational background, sense of curiosity, values and philosophy influencing your response to this photo?

    I see calculated risk based play where the children are actively engaged in their natural environment working together or alone immersing themselves with the rocks. They can test theories like how different rocks feel or how much they weigh or take turns trying to skip stones or see which rock makes the loudest splash if they throw it. It makes me happy seeing the children in the natural environment and makes me think fondly of me taking my own daughter down to parks and creeks where she loves to investigate stones, climb on hills and rocks and test how far she can throw stones and loves the sound they make when they hit the water.

  30. Daphne Hachey

    this reminds me of the ideas of risk based learning and how children who have experiences such as playing on creeks, climbing trees, jumping etc.. will learn their own limits, boundaries and develop not only skills but a self awareness as opposed to children who are not allotted the time to try things like risks that are not aware of risks and boundaries so when placed in a risky situation often don’t react in the same way that children with experience with risk and the self awareness would

  31. Karin Freiberg

    This picture makes me wish that all children could experience nature on a regular basis while in early learning settings. Often regulation and fear gets in the way of natural learning. I would love to see a forest/nature ELCC environment in action.

  32. Heather Diewert

    As a child I had a lot free outside time and I still value that time and those experiences.
    I love watching these children engaged in this form of risky play. They are learning so much about risk assessment, and their personal limits. They are developing wonderful gross and fine motor skills, their vestibular system and social skills as they collaborate with peers.

  33. Anna Mary McKenney

    When I see this photo I am reminded of times I enjoyed at local parks and waterways as a child but my experience as an educator has taught me that not all children engage in this type of play. That for many clean water and outdoor environments are a luxury and not all children can learn in this type of environment. It is our job as educators to also not romanticize our childhoods in order to embrace new learning

  34. Angel Huang

    I see children exploring the creek and climbing up and down the rocks making sure they are standing on a steady rock, checking their balance. I feel joy and relaxation in this picture as well. I remember growing up when I was little my parents used to take my siblings and I to a creek side and we would catch little crawfish (something that look like a little lobster) We would have to make a trap with little frog and trick them to come out. I remembered the first time I didn’t know what was in it, but I want to know, that sense of curiosity got me excited to take the risk and catch a frog by myself. Looking at that picture, I wonder if they saw fish or animals in the water or under the rocks/ grass and so on. Kids being in the nature can learn a lot too.

  35. Nicole Morrell

    I think the opportunities for the children are endless in this picture. It makes me glad to see children checking out the rocks (and likely throwing them in the water). The fact that they are so close to the water to me shows the educators trust in them when it comes to knowing that they will keep themselves safe and stay where they need to be, My knowledge in the value of this inspires me to show this to other programs. I have fond memories as a child throwing rocks and do the same with my son so I would likely be inclined to do the same if these were children in my program. This picture inspires me.

  36. Bonnie Willson

    I see children exploring nature in the rocks and looking around the water’ edge, and enjoying themselves. I feel like I would like to join them and share in their wonder and enjoyment. I think they are enjoying exploring and having an experience that is quite valuable to their learning. I grew up playing outside in the woods and fields around my house, and i love encouraging this in the children as well as sharing in their sense of wonder a they discover new things.

  37. Svetlana Babikova

    I can see that children are freely playing outdoor near by the river and throw rocks. Children look happy and exited. That outdoor play support risky play, opportunities for socialization with peers, have a field trips to the spacific area- river (that is community engagement). The enviroment supports children’s learning and development.

  38. Angela Walker

    There is definitely a lot that they are learning and discovering, the feel of the rocks, the weight of the rocks, what happens when they throw the rock into the river. It reminds me of fishing and camping with family , so I am sure there was talk about where there are fish in the river. There will also be safety rules and boundaries of what is dangerous but still allowing for risky play.

  39. Rachelle Gregoire

    This made me anxious! Haha! As a new ECEA . I am working on relaxing! This play is so important, and i know it is, but my instinct is to make sure everyone is overly safe! After reflection i have seen lots of risky play and very little injuries.
    Important lessons are being learned by everyone, not just the rock thrower or the one hit by the rock , but everyone in ear shot will know why it’s not ok to throw rocks when others are close.
    Being a new ECEA , and a mother to 2 human who are needing risks daily, i will learn to step back, guide and support!

  40. Kaylie Stokotelny

    I see freedom and risky play. the children are able to climb the rocks down to the river and their own risk and have power of climbing and throwing the rocks. the children are enjoying the nature and learning in the enviroment.

  41. Kathy Barnhart

    As an ECE I value this experience that the children are having near the river for its freedom, its joy, its curiosity in nature and its simplicity. I am a product of my upbringing and systems as I can remember fondly my walks and experiences in the outdoors. I have always felt saddened by seeing children “stuck” inside for long days . I am so pleased that the culture of ECE is embracing the benefits of outdoor play.

  42. Betty-Ann Ryz

    As an early learning teacher I see great exploring, curiosity, spatial awareness, physical balancing on the uneven rocks, calm social awareness probably from the sound of the flowing water.
    As a child I had access to an abundance of outdoor play daily throwing rocks into water was always a great sensory experience.

  43. Anita Diepdael

    I see children exploring and taking risks. I believe the children in this photo feel a sense of accomplishment as they climb and play in the rocks. I feel the play experiences are endless due to the freedom that the children have in this environment. Its so rich and full of wonderful learning opportunities.

  44. Maria Agustin

    When I looked at the picture the children got chance to explore and experiment in the natural world. The were playing with rocks, throwing it in the flowing water. The engaged in risky situation but I see that they are enjoying the environment.

  45. Lindsey Cooper

    I see the children engaging in an activity that some may consider risky. The children are using large motor skills to balance on the rocks and fine motor skills to grab the smaller ones to throw into the water.

  46. Lucie Pendergraff

    The setting provides multiple kinds of things to explore while also allowing safe but risky play; sharp rocks on a decline and a stream. They have access to all types of sensory exploration, gross motor play, science. The children will be more comfortable in different types of settings having access to this type of play. I grew up in the city and didn’t have access to areas like this, but found myself always imagining that I was playing in areas like that wherever I was at the time.

  47. Xintong Wang

    When I saw this photo, I feel happy and a bit jealous, because they are in a natural environment that has so much to offer for them to explore, learning, taking risks.
    I grow up in an area where there are no natural areas to access to like this, and for my family, we are not a big outdoor family as well.
    Seeing this photo, the children are climbing, enhancing their gross motor skills through the rocks. They have a sense of belonging and they are aware of what their surroundings has to offer.
    They are also engaging in science exploration where they are looking for rocks.

  48. Ai Paul

    I see a group of children who are confident and being aware of their surroundings. Educators and children must have spent long time to establish trust and assessed risk management before taking this picture. Children are focusing on discovering different rocks; sensory while balancing on the bumpy rocks.

  49. Cindy Spencer

    This picture makes me happy! I see curious little children engaged in learning about the creek and the surroundings of that creek. What better way to learn about the creek and what’s around it than learning first hand. These children have had experience here before as they look confident and know how to behave around such an environment. Children don’t learn that from a book they learn from experience.

  50. Jaclyn Geiger

    I see learners focused on investigating the rocks… maybe a science hunt for clues. They are working together and independently. Their curiosity is engaged as the dig and share and explore. They also look as though they will take turns throwing the rocks in the creek which a great time to discuss fish habit and our effect on nature. Safety is key so I also imagine that boundaries and routines have been put into place before this activity. What we don’t sense in the photo is the sound of the water, the fresh air on their skin and smell of the air… all senses that would be engaged and learning through this outdoor play.

  51. Kimberley Thompson

    i think the children are well engaged in the collection of rocks and possibly skipping the rocks in the river. I feel as it is a steep slope of rocks and a child could really hurt them selves but that could also be the way the picture us taken, a risk assessment is always a good idea before saying okay this is a good place to play. as my curiosity and back ground i would ask the children what they would like to do with the rocks. I would maybe suggest some things if they didn’t know, such a building with them or taking some to paint.

  52. Caroline Driedger

    Looking at this picture i see happy children, that are engaged in their surroundings by exploring. That the ECE with them has trust in the group of children and has given them an area of play that encourages curiosity and exploration. But what stands out the most is how happy the chilren are.

  53. Heidi Dueck

    When I see this photo my first response is joy. Children are active, climbing, throwing and discovering.
    I am very thankful they have this experience because my knowledge of being a camper, hiker, mom, caregiver I know this is a good thing.
    My experiences in nature and childhood want me to let all children have the opportunities the children in this picture have. It’s a good thing.
    My education is in Early Childhood Development and I can’t help but notice all the domains and play experiences the children are having. It’s a good thing.
    I am very curious and I want to bring that opportunity to discover and learn with the children. This picture shows so much opportunity for wonder, questions and finding answers together. It’s a good thing.
    My values and my philosophy are that we were created to be social, active, outside. My values are that children are worthy of our time to take them new places and outside. It’s a good thing. 🙂

  54. Nikki Littlechild

    I feel happiness when I see this photo. Children often aren’t allowed such free reign near a body of water and pile of large rocks. I love it and wish that experiences such as this were available to children all the time. It’s important for children to learn from experience about their strengths, abilities and how to set boundaries for themselves. I grew up in the great outdoors and try to provide as much outdoor time as I can for my own children.

  55. Ruth Novak

    I see and feel happiness! Great photo!! These children look like they are having so much fun observing and engaging with the rocks. The one holding the rock looks like he’s debating how far he can throw the rock :). Growing up, I played a lot in forests (until they cut the trees) and loved playing in the dirt and experiencing something new. Something I wish to do with my daycare.

  56. Betty-Ann Ryz

    I see children using balance skills on the rocks; discovering all the different shapes and sizes of rocks; sensory of sounds are having a calm affect on the children. My understanding that all aspects of nature are important to human development and I support this pictured activity for children.

  57. Pamela Casorso

    As a child we lived near 2 creeks and were constantly exploring the banks of the creeks. I see the children doing the same thing in this picture. Their curiousity is serving them well.

  58. Silvia Martínez

    This is a great picture, they are playing together as a group, observing, exploring, playing with rocks, is a good opportunity to learn about solving problems.

  59. Nadira Ramnauth

    I see the children were given the opportunity to take risks and explore freely. Each one of them were busy looking for rocks. I love the outdoor environment where this play took place. The children can learn so much about the rocks, the water and other nature items. As an adult, when I visit the lake or the beach I love bringing back rocks, shells and other nature items. I see this play as a fun outdoor activity for the children.

  60. Minni Harris

    I see a group of confident children exploring and their surrounding it has brought back so many memories of my childhood exploring the beaches and skipping rocks. Trial and error learning how to skip rocks thank goodness I never gave up on how to skip rocks because when it came to our daughter we taught them how it was fun times.

  61. Kecia Alexis

    I love this photo, i love that the children are all really investigating what’s around the creek, and all trying something different while they are in the same area. I grew up living beside a lake and doing almost everything outdoors as a child. I would love to do something like this with the children at my program because it would be a great experience for them because we live in the city and a lot of our families don’t have the luxuries of a vehicle to drive to the river, lake or anywhere more remote outdoor type of environment. It can be a great learning experience and a great life experience just to go to a river/creek and throw some rocks, look at the different types of things you can see around the water source, like moss and such.

  62. Lucie Theroret

    i love that picture children are confident it is probably the best moment of their day Remind me my own childhood

  63. Trina Kelly

    Looking at this pic intrigues me. I love the fact that the children have the opportunity to play near a creek. They’re playing together, as a group. They’re outside, exploring, enjoying Mother Nature.

  64. Charlene Durrant

    This is a great picture. It makes me want to go and explore with them. There is so much going on. Observing, investigating, communication, as well as all senses being used.

  65. Christine Villeneuve

    I had access to this kind of environment growing up, so it’s nice to see youth today also seeking in the rocks. I remember learning about fossils and looking for them anytime I was near rocks. We would also skip rocks across the lake, and listen to loons call each other. I wonder if the experiences for these children will be as impactful as I remember mine were. I think my passion for the outdoors is rooted in the freedom I had to explore as a young person, so I encourage that within my own practice.

  66. Hilary Geddes

    i see children who are actively engaged and working on their own terms. they each have different thought processes yet are all engaged in the same type of play.

  67. Carrie Maclellan 

    This excites me and makes me want to participate. I grew up spending my summers fishing at the river with my family and sibling and for me this feels very comfortable. I can see how someone who was not exposed to the same supportive development and outdoor experiences may not be comfortable with this engagement

  68. Carli Olson

    Not every child gets this opportunity to play on big rocks beside a body of water and i think it is a great way to teach safety and boundaries. They have to work together to make sure they are all playing safely against the water, and overall what a great experience! This is something i would love to do with the children at our centre, licensing permitting.

  69. Nazia Mir

    i can see children are playing with rocks and throwing them to the water. they are learning how things sink and how much far they can throw and also they wants praise what can they do.

  70. Janice Duncan

    I see a group of children actively engaged in the joy of exploring a rock pile near a river. I feel a sense of longing to be out there with them as I miss the times when I took groups of children out to the river valley in my area. I think that this outdoor play environment is rich in possibilities for exploration, and learning. My response to this picture is based on my relationship to nature and love of the outdoors. This is a value of mine that I wish to share with children so that they may begin a love affair with the earth, so that they may then protect it. My educational background/experience in early learning, my curiosity, and life experiences have influenced my response.

  71. Mercy santiago

    I can seams children capability, social skills, good self esteem, they are using their sense to learn, enjoying the nature, this remind me my childhood playing and enjoying the nature, exploring and transforming rocks in a castle.

  72. Catherine Pascua

    so much me and looking at this picture it brings back my childhood memories, we swim, jump into the water, dive in, throw rocks, teach little friends how swim, try to catch fish and splashing water to each other and more! a lot of exploration, discussions, new skills learned, develop self regulation, overcoming fear, taking risk play and so much fun! Our children always get excited when we tells them to have a trip again to the river, streams, ponds, beach or to the forest, they always love to back and their excitement are priceless.

  73. Kara Booth

    As soon as I looked at this picture I had a smile on my face. I reminded me of my childhood and experiences my own children have had. My boys would spend hours throwing rocks in the lake during the summer. It provides the children with an opportunity to learn about water safety, the environment, science (sink and float & cause and effect), problem solving…the list is endless. So much fun!

  74. Stephanie Vieira

    Looking at this picture makes me happy. Seeing that the children are spending time outside in nature specially beside the river and not being scared of the water. This lets the children explore in many ways and also can make believe what they like at this place if they wanted to. There is so much you can do at a place like this.

  75. Laura Mcintosh

    This pictures shows many positive play experiences within one photo, is shows children playing collaboratively but also doing different things at the same time. You can see children examining the rocks and throwing them, stacking them and moving them around. This brings me back to my childhood and how much fun it was to be one with nature.

  76. Lorraine Kok

    This picture I see the children intently observe, exploring the rocks, they look very confident in their demeaner, I live this picture the children are very interested and content. I think this would be a great place for children to explore . I grew up by the ocean so this picture really resonates with me we did not have electricity so the outdoors was our play ground many hours building forts, exploring the beach and long walks.

  77. Daniela Rodriguez

    Nature is a great option for kids to interact with one another and learn from their surroundings. During COVID, I believe nature has been, personally, an amazing alternative to disconnect and engage with the environment. It would be ideal for families to implement outdoor activities in their daily routine!

  78. Kathryn Armstrong

    i love this photo. The children are scrambling up and down the rocks. Throwing rocks into the river. This very much resonates with my childhood activities and with the experiences I shared with my own children.

  79. Nicole Robinson

    What, as an early learning teacher do you see, feel and think about the experience that the children are engaged in?
    I see children confidently playing near the fast running river, I feel that if they are used to this type of play then they are safe. I love this type of experience for the children.

    How are your knowledge, life experiences, educational background, sense of curiosity, values and philosophy influencing your response to this photo?
    When I began my ECE journey, I found a lot of my latent beliefs made more sense. Children are far more capable than today’s society gives them credit for. My old riding coach once told me the million dollar horse isn’t allowed out into the paddock or field because they hurt themselves. But the wild horse will walk into a bog, and slowly back out before getting hurt. The difference is experience. Children are the same way, if they are given opportunities to take their own risks when they are developmentally appropriate, they are inherently safer in the world because they are physically competent. The children I see in this photo are physically competent and confident.

  80. Prabhulata Immaraju

    I as a child played a lot with friends, both indoors and outdoors. In the mud, climbing trees, eating fruits n vegetables off the trees n plants etc. It gives me great joy that the children I work with are also provided with open ended play opportunities both indoors n outdoors. The scene above depicts the beautiful n natural environment the children are exploring. Heading out to the beach/ or near the water, requires a few rules to follow by the staff n children and permission forms filled out etc, once these are in place there is there is definitely a lot of fun for the children and adults. Nature is the best teacher. I personally would need to be with another staff who is able to swim, as this is sadly something I don’t know and have a fear of.

  81. Amanda N

    It’s a beautiful picture that shows a lot about how vital is outdoor play. From this picture, I see children working together, exercising their muscles, exploring the environment, using their senses while throwing rocks and listening to the sound of it in the water or on the grass. I also see a confident educator behind this experience, someone that encourages outdoor play and risk-taking. I wish I could have more moments like that with the children that I work with.

  82. Erin Lihou

    i love this picture as it shows a sense of adventure and looks to show the children about exploring and gravity if they throw rocks into the water. also shows a sense of belonging in the group of boys who look completely content and happy. But in the back of mind I am concerned of the dangers or injuries that could happen from a throw of a rock that hits a peer or falling into the water and the liabilities at stake for the program if that were to happen.

  83. Krissa Rathgeber

    I see freedom in this photo…freedom to explore and to be trusted by the educator in this situation. The children are making good decisions based on their own assessment of risk.

  84. Mikaela Reyes

    What, as an early learning teacher do you see, feel and think about the experience that the children are engaged in? How are your knowledge, life experiences, educational background, sense of curiosity, values and philosophy influencing your response to this photo?

    As an early childhood educator, the photo shows how children are freely allowed to explore near the water. It shows teacher’s confidence in them by letting the children climb up and down the rocks, pick up different kinds of rocks and throwing them in directions that won’t harm others. I feel that through this experience, children are learning to think before they act. I can feel that because they are given a chance to independently explore, they are more aware of their own sense of fear and risks. They take on more responsible choices as they explore.

    I had a very limited outdoor play experience in my childhood. Outdoors are always perceived as a place for rough games for boys and very dirty for little girls. Thus, I never really enjoyed playing outside. Though through my education, I know my responsibilities in building children’s foundations of learning and so, I taught myself to appreciate the outdoors. I even am able to mask my fear of snakes and any creepy crawlies because I know, any little responses I show the children will influence their ideas – and really, my goal is for every child to love learning and enjoy it because I do and I am always grateful for education.

  85. Kamaldeep Sidhu

    This photo shows that each child is engaged,busy and look excited.Looking at moving water,they want throw rocks into the water.I can see the joy of freedom.children are learning so many things…,they are exploring the nature.

  86. Nikki Meyer

    As an ECE I feel the photo shows that the educator has confidence and trust in the children. They are Mighty Learners, allowed to explore the risks of climbing on rocks and throwing rocks close to water. The knowledge I have gained throughout my professional life, my personal experiences with playing outdoors as a child and the values I hold of children having opportunities to develop through risk taking, allow me to feel comfortable with educators providing experiences like this for the children they work with. It excites me when I see practices like this in the programs I work with!

  87. Alphonsine Hategekimana

    This photo shows that each child is engaged in what he or she is doing, they are curious, looking at the moving or flowing water, looking for the shells and even exploring the meaning of walking on the rocks.
    This photo shows the important to be in nature. The nature is important for young children. It attracts their imagination, curiosity and even creativity.
    The picture reminds me of my children when we were at Point Plaisant Park. They love to walk on the rocks near the ocean by throwing rocks in the water.

  88. Jennifer Yarmish

    I love so much about this photo as we are currently (no pun intended) not allowed to take the children in our program to a body of water of any kind without hiring someone with lifeguard experience. I laughed hard at myself though as my initial reaction was that I would want to encourage the child with the rock in his hand to think about a space where he might be able to throw that rock in to the water without it hitting anyone who is in front of him. It’s about finding that balance between risk and danger, right?
    These children are being allowed to experience something that requires spatial awareness, peer problem solving, critical thinking and so many other skills! I spend a lot of time with my own children in this type of environment with my own children and would love be able to do that with the children in my care as well.

  89. Patricia Lynch-Staunton

    I can see a mesosystem that values children’s development. I feel joy in seeing the freedom of an environment so fulll of opportunities for exploration. I feel confidence in the children to be capable of managing their risk close to a river. I am wondering if they are already well acquainted with rivers and know the safety rules. My response to this photo is influenced by my own life experiences. I remember experiencing calming the sound of rippling water, the ‘plunk’ sound of the stones, the feeling and weight of different stones in my hand – for hours and hours. My educational background applauds this educator’s confidence in the children to manage their play and her committment to advance children’s experiences outdoors. The role of the educator is a critical component of the microsystem. Is it a coincidence that the children are all boys? I hope so. It is important that all children have the same access to life experiences outdoors.

  90. Christine Norman

    Throwing rocks in a river so the ocean is so fun for kids. I used to love doing it when I was a kid too. The children are learning about cause and effect, sound, math and using their physical body to move. I fully support and encourage the children to throw rocks into the water as long as it is a safe area to do so and it is not harmful to the ecosystem that is being used. For example if fish were spawning. There would be a good learning conversation around that as well. As I have personal positive experience with this activity and know how valuable it is I allow my children to do it as well. I have also taken workshops on outdoor play before and understand the endless benefits from it. Because of my love of nature and being respectful of it it would be important to me that the area was not a protected area.

  91. Flora Moffatt

    when I look at that picture i see a whole bunch of fun, the children are learning so many things……balance ,knowledge of their surroundings, their level of fear. I feel from my answer you can tell that I am an open minded risky play person.

  92. Katelyn Smiley

    it looks like a lot of fun. when i was a child i did this kind of stuff all the time and i allow my son to do this. but certain centers policies my not allow children to be this close to the river.

  93. Anita Morgan

    I see so much amazing potential just from the photo. I see math, science, some risk, teamwork, communication, lots of learning going on.
    This photo reminds me of my childhood on the river bank. Climbing up and down the banks, balancing on rocks, skipping stones, and throwing rocks and watching what will float.

  94. Heather Howard

    Looking at this picture make me feel that these mighty learners are eager to explore and are capable and competent. They are all making their own experience by exploring the environment in their own way, whether it is further back or closer to the water.

  95. Alison Rinas

    Looking at this picture reminds of the time when I was preschool educator and we took the children in my 3-4 year room on a field trip to the river side in Saskatoon, SK. The children enjoyed the freedom of being close to the river and began to throw rock into the river to see he effect they had on the power of there throws and I remember the smiles,joy and fun we had during this excursion. I also remember I director when I got back telling me I couldn’t go back to the river as this trip was risky and could of put the children in danger being so close to the river……. how time has changed in our visions and views on outdoor play in 20 years. 🙂

  96. Laurie Millions

    The children in the picture are being allowed to explore their environment. They are learning so many things. How to work together. What happens when we throw rocks in the water

  97. Jessica Popp

    In the image provided, I am reminded that all the children in the image, although together can be engaging in a different process. I value each and everyones individual process of exploration that the children are experiencing.

  98. Joanne Falk

    Looking at this picture, it reminds me of when I was younger, I loved to climb rocks/hills and spend time outdoors by the water. Lots of learning happens, they’re spending time in nature and able to explore the environment.

  99. Laurie Millions

    I grew up in a small town were as a child I was allowed to play outside a lot with my friends in the neighborhood.
    Even as an adult, we moved to the country where we run and train dogs to run on dog teams. I have always valued the outdoor Life.
    When i went to school for my ECE ii training I learned why it was so important for children to play outside and learn about their environment

  100. Taylor Aichelberger

    Looking at this photo I see the children exploring in a rich, beautiful and engaging natural environment. The options for outdoor play experiences here are endless. The children are learning about their surroundings, exercising their creative and critical thinking skills, collaborating and connecting with others, and engaging in activities with reasonable risk.
    My knowledge, life experiences, educational background, sense of curiosity, values and philosophy all have a significant impact on my response to this photo. Growing up on Vancouver Island, I was exposed to a lot of outdoor play as a child, much of which occurred near rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. Bodies of water provide such a wonderful opportunity to learn and play. I grew up camping, exploring, swimming and playing in the forest. These early experiences with nature have definitely supported me in developing my current philosophies of education and my lifelong long of the outdoors.

  101. Charmee Penner

    The farm I grew up had a creek on the property. I see a wealth of learning that can occur around the creek. Children in the photo are throwing rocks into the water. I think that there are many things that they are experiencing and learning during this. Children are able to compare the size and weight of the rocks, explore how far they are able to far the rocks based on their size, compare the splash in the water based on the size and can listen to the auditory splashes. I think that the creek also allows for an educator to teach children on safety in spring as the creek is high, winter when it is frozen.

  102. Andrea Preissl

    I grew up around creeks, rivers, and other bodies of water. I climbed over rocks and explored the environment. I would feel happy with those children playing just like that – although I’m hoping if the child throws the rocks there is no one in front of him.

  103. Romy Ralph

    I think the photo is great..(.although I hope the one child in the back does not throw the rock at someone’s head!) As a child I had many hours of exploring creeks, rivers and the ocean and it makes for a happy childhood. Children can learn so much from a little piece of nature and they love it.

  104. Randi Robertson

    I grew up around a huge lake and river in my small town and we would always go explore the beaches around us and go to the river. I think this is a great picture because it shows the kids having fun and exploring in the nature.

  105. Catherine Barry

    Look at the picture above. What, as an early learning teacher do you see, feel and think about the experience that the children are engaged in? How are your knowledge, life experiences, educational background, sense of curiosity, values and philosophy influencing your response to this photo?

    I was brought in an area where it was save to play. We had a garden and my brothers, friends and I were playing all kind of game with mud, stick wood, leaf, trees etc. We also did a lot of bike. I wasn’t far from the sea and every weekend we were playing with the sand. This picture is showing me very busy children who seems to enjoy where they are.

  106. Kim Hoey

    I was brought up in the country close to a creek. We went there regularly to play. We spent a lot of time outdoors. So for me …… this is a great pic. The kids are in nature, learning about their environment. So many good happy things going on!