Outdoor Play is the beginning of a reconnection to the simpler things in life

Hello! I’m thrilled to introduce myself as the new Learning and Engagement Manager at Nature Play WA, specialising in education. I’m excited to join such a passionate and dedicated team, and to have the opportunity to help shape the future of nature-based education in Western Australia and beyond. 

In this role, I’ll be responsible for developing and implementing educational programs and initiatives that promote nature play and connect children with the natural world. I believe that nature-based education is essential for children’s physical, emotional, and cognitive development, and I’m passionate about sharing this message with others. 

On Saturday I was part of the Nature Play Day at Rio Tinto Naturescape, as part of our Every Kid in a Park initiative, with more than 1000 families attending. The event was a wonderful way to begin my time at Nature Play WA as I was privileged to witness families connecting with Western Australia’s stunning national parks and recognising the health and well-being benefits of unstructured play in the outdoors.   

As the sun speckled through the canopy of trees at King’s Park, young children’s squeals of excitement further brightened the morning.  The carefree abandon of young children playing in nature raised my spirits.  It reminded me that as we ground ourselves, we can focus on what we are grateful for and be excited about the future. Making paperbark boats and sailing them down the rocky rapids at Naturescape helped me see things as the children around me do, with all their curiosity and wonderment and find a peacefulness amongst the constant chaos of our world. 

As I work to promote outdoor play, I am motivated by a belief that supporting children to live healthy outdoor lives is the beginning of a journey to reconnecting with the simpler things in life.  

Overall, I’m thrilled to be joining the Nature Play WA team and can’t wait to get started on this exciting new journey. 

 Sarah McGowan is Nature Play WA’s Learning and Engagement Manager.  You can read Sarah’s bio here.

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