Nature Play & COVID-19
The space in which we work connecting kids to nature is opening up. Looking at re-opening our programs such as bush playgroups and summer nature play sessions, what are some of the guidelines we can turn to? What will our work look like in the 'covid-normal'?
With our work often overlapping with education, as well as recreation and outdoor experiences, we are on new territory here. This is exciting, because it gives us the opportunity to think about creative ways to make our work as safe as possible. We are also not alone in this and around the world, people worldwide are coming up with ideas that we can learn from. One recurring idea is to provide more outdoor education options in the mainstream education system as a way to provide safer education options to students.
Some resources below are trying to answer some of the questions in returning to provide nature experiences within a COVID-19 world.
The main Victorian guidelines that refer to our field, and which you would be probably well aware of, are the Industry Restart Guidelines: Outdoor Entertainment Attractions and Experiences, the Education and Training Sector guidance documents and for those working in the early childhood sector Early childhood Education and Care.
Please note that these get updated with every change in restrictions, so make sure you have the latest version.
Outdoors Victoria keeps an updated record of the COVIDSafe plans for the Education, Sport and Recreation sector in Victoria, as well as a guide for cleaning and maintenance in the outdoor sector.
In the UK, Childhood by Nature have put together a list of resources for Outdoor Learning During COVID-19. Play Scotland developed this Toolkit for delivering Loose Parts Play in COVID-19.
The Queensland government has developed a document with guidelines and things to consider when providing outdoor education. This is the most relevant detailed document we have been able to find to date.
If you come across any other useful resources, please send them to us via firstname.lastname@example.org and we can include them here.