What is Wildflower Nature Play Program?
The short answer:
Wildflower provides children with an opportunity to play freely in nature - like we used to in the good ol' days! Our farm setting offers children the chance to use their imaginations, get dirty, and try new things. If your child would enjoy running with goats, climbing fences and trees, building forts, and eating sugar snaps fresh off the vine, then they are perfect Wildflower material!
The long answer:
With all of the expectations placed on our children these days, it’s easy to see that they are not getting enough time to just be kids. Studies show that the lack of free play, specifically in nature, is leading to an increase in negative behaviors and a decrease in school readiness.
You might be thinking, “my child plays sports, so he/she gets plenty of play time.” While that may be true and
sports offer many physical and mental benefits, such as strength building, teamwork, and discipline, free play offers a different kind of benefit. In sports, the children must follow the rules and complete tasks in specific ways. Children need to be able to play with no rules or expectations. They need to be free to make decisions, make mistakes, and take chances!
Wildflower utilizes the farm setting to provide children with the opportunity to use all of their senses, be silly and
carefree, and use their imagination. Our curriculum is developed by pediatric Occupational Therapists, Physical
Therapists, and Speech Language Pathologists, which means that every activity is specifically designed to
provide the most benefit to the children’s development.
At Wildflower, our goal is to create well rounded children who, like wildflowers, can grow and thrive anywhere!
||Use of all of senses
- children learn about the world through using their senses as they explore and play
- sensory play helps to build nerve connections to the brain, which encouraged the development of motor skills and complex learning tasks
||Opportunity to take risks in a
- risk taking during play helps children learn the difference between good risk and bad risk
- Through “risky play”, children develop skills such as…
- executive function skills (paying attention, organizing, regulate emotions, self control)
- learning their limits and what they’re capable of
- problem solving
- participation in risky play is actually shown to decrease the risk of injury
||Peer interaction without adult
- allowing children to play without adult interference, helps to develop skills such as…
- conflict resolution
- thinking outside the box
- problem solving
- critical thinking
How does Wildflower help with school readiness?
Today’s school systems expect children to sit still at their desks for a very long time each day, while at the same time expecting them to pay attention, learn the information, and behave. Spoiler alert - that’s not how it works!
Children are built to learn and develop through movement and play. Without enough free play, they are not prepared to adhere to the expectations listed above. In short, we are setting them up for failure. In the words of Angela J. Hanscom, a pediatric Occupational Therapist and author of the book Balanced and Barefoot…
“More and more teachers and parents everywhere are reporting that children are starting to fall out of their seats in school, are becoming more aggressive and easily frustrated, are having trouble paying attention, are showing more anxiety, and are spending less time in imaginary play than ever before. These symptoms are due in part to underdeveloped motor and sensory skills, which leave children underprepared for academics and overwhelmed by daily life and social situations…In nature, children learn to take risks, overcome fears, make new friends, regulate emotions, and create imaginary worlds.”
What does a day at Wildflower look like?
- Parents drop their children off and let the staff supervise while the kiddos have fun on the farm!
- The role of the staff will be to supervise and keep the children safe. Our staff will offer the children with the space, materials, and freedom to get creative. Directives and suggestions will be kept to a minimum, though some structured activities (chores, crafts, games) will also be provided at times. The more an adult interferes with the child’s free play, the less beneficial it is, so those structured activities will be kept to a minimum. This “stand off” approach allows for the children to learn to do things like negotiate with each other, resolve conflict, and think outside the box.
- They will get dirty! Maybe not every time they visit, but it’s certainly a possibility. On hot days, water play will be available and, of course, farms don’t have any shortage of dirt!
- Interaction with the animals will be offered daily
- Snack will be provided during the school year program and summer camps.
School year program
Following a typical school year schedule, Wildflower offers morning and afternoon sessions Monday-Friday each week. This program is geared towards preschool aged children.
- Groups are limited to 8 children
- Morning session: 9:00am - 11:30am
- Afternoon session: 12:30pm - 3:00pm
- Monthly packages can be purchased for attendance - no need to sign up for the entire school year or
commit to specific days/times each month. Pick and choose the days and times that work for you each
- 4 visits per month $100
- 8 visits per month $200
- 12 visits per month $300
Private camps can be scheduled for either an individual child or for a small group of friends. Days and times are coordinated between the families and Wildflower director, Kelsey Bromwell.
- Individual camp $35 for one hour
- Small group camp $25 per participant for one hour
- No age restrictions!!
Camps will run Monday-Friday from 9:30am-11:30am beginning June 14th and ending August 13th. You may register for just one week or as many as you’d like.
- $150 per week
- ages 3-10
- snack included each day
- limit of 8 campers per week