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Developmental learning opportunities that are occurring at our play sessions.

Nature Play
Paperbark Play and Learning is renting a play space in Wollombi that has a fantastic natural outlook and peaceful atmosphere. Our personal philosophy encourages respect for the environment and promoting the importance of unstructured play in outdoor settings where natural elements feature.
Natural elments:
- rocks
- grass
- water
- logs
- trees
- hills
- animals
Children feel a sense of belonging and connectedness to each other and the world around then when involved in nature play.

Children learn to safely maneuver their bodies around obstacles. The obstacles offer levels, moving parts, and unpredictable surfaces. The children develop balance, coordination, concentration, gross-motor skills, and fundamental movement skills. When children attempt these obstacles they are challenging their body's capabilities. In this area children are discovering, understanding, and mastering many skills at once.
Fundamental Movement skills - a specific set of active skills that exercise different body parts (arms, legs, abdomen, head). The skills can be broken into two groups; locomotion group (rolling, climbing, balancing, sliding, running, leaping, hopping, jumping, galloping, skipping, walking) and manipulation group (striking, over-arm throwing, under-arm throwing, bouncing, catching, kicking, rolling).

Small Worlds
Small worlds give children the opportunity to use their imagination and express what they know about the world around them. Children often role play and pretend when they are engaged in small world play. Children can explore and investigate settings they may already know like a farm or be exposed to new worlds that they are unaware of, like the deep ocean. Small world play often stimulates conversation and inquiry (questions).
One option is to set up a small world and children will engage with it as is (or as it is meant to be or as it is found naturally). The other option is to provide the resources and observe the small world that the children create themselves.

Science and Mathematics
Engaging in a 'cooking' activity exposes children to an array of mathematical and scientific concepts; measurement (size, weight, volume, time, quantity), capacity, transferring, counting, shapes, patterns, sorting, colours, and numbers. Children are able to make choices and initiate their own scientific and mathematical investigations when presented with open-ended materials.

Creative Arts
The creative arts involves painting, drawing, dancing, and acting. At the play sessions out recent focus has been on drawing and painting. Both drawing and painting provide the children with opportunities to be creative - to get their ideas onto paper. The act of gripping and manipulating pencils, textas, and paintbrushes is advancing the children's fine-motor skills. Children are provided with open-ended resources and demonstrate their creativity.
Creativity - the use of imagination or ideas to create something new or the tendency to generate and invent.

Loose Parts
Loose parts are loose items that were originally used for one purpose but are now used for a new purpose. They seemingly have no purpose, therefore, the children assign the items a purpose and a function. Loose parts are items that can be moved, carried, combined, divided, redesigned, lined up, taken apart, and put together an infinite amount of times and in an infinite different ways. Loose parts give children freedom in their play; to make choices, make rules, use space, have control, make change.
Loose parts play presents a 'what if' or theoretical reality. 
Children develop critical thinking skills when participating in loose parts play.
Examples of loose parts items:
- newspaper, cardboard, wrapping paper
- pinecones, sticks, leaves, flowers, seed pods
- straws, beads, pom poms, wool, rope, gems, 
- sand, shells, driftwood, stones, bamboo shoots
- blocks, cups, rolling pins, pegs, links, hoops, match sticks

A cognitive area is an area where children are provoked to think. Thinking to get the brain's cogs turning. Thinking to investigate, hypothesise, problem-solve, explore, define, and question. Cognitive resources often include puzzles, mazes, instruments, sensory toys, blocks, items to be sorted and categorised, and resources that have moving parts (eg. cars, locks, buttons).
Problem-solving - a process to define a problem, determine a cause, and selecting and implementing a solution.

Language and Literacy
The children sit with the educator and explore felt media on the felt board. The children are using their receptive skills to watch, process, and respond to the stimuli.
In the images the child is reproducing emotions after hearing the educator say the emotion, touching the emotive felt, and seeing the educator's emotive facial language.
The children sit around a basket of books on individual, small, circular cushions and view written literature in the form of books. They are viewing images and letters on the pages, as well as learning the function of a book.
Children sit on cushions in front of the educator while she reads to them. The choice of text is up to the child. This time, the child is not only viewing the text but also hearing it. Children are able to connect sounds with images and written letters when they are engaged with books.

Fine-motor skills

Within all of these developmental areas there is room for cross-over or for one activity to cover multiple developmental areas. Social growth is present in all learning when two or more children gather or when an educator gathers with one or more children. Social play is the foundation of relationship building, attachment, and healthy emotional expression.
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