Five Wu Yee Children's Services Child Development Centers have started to update their play spaces to include rocks, trees and water - all vital elements in nature. At Little Sprouts Child Development Center in Chinatown, this means putting plants and fish tanks in the classrooms and renaming their indoor play space, the “Nature Room” in honor of the vines, branches, and rocks integrated with the toys, games, and activities.
John Gunnarson, designer of the Nature Room at Little Sprouts states some of the many benefits of having a more natural based play space are increased problem solving and creativity. He said, “by seeing the slight differences in natural objects like leaves and sticks, children can think creatively and value diversity.” Little Sprouts Center Manager, Martha Ly echoes Gunnarson’s sentiment saying, “Being exposed to natural elements promotes calmness and creativity. Children are more likely to take risks and explore.”
Being exposed to natural elements also encourages children to develop a love of nature and the environment and want to preserve it for generations to come. “These children could be future policy makers and politicians. They need a chance to experience nature in a safe place and develop a positive connection to our environment, ”said Gunnarson.
We look forward to seeing the children play in the Nature Room at Little Sprouts, and the completion of the renovated play spaces at the four other Wu Yee Child Development Centers.