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The conveniences of modern life have given us many advantages, but have set up a world in which the average child today does not spend enough time outside. Not having access to free play in nature has a huge impact on many children’s growth and well-being. Spending most of the day playing, experimenting, getting creative, and relaxing in nature (in all seasons and all weather) has been scientifically shown to benefit children in many ways. From strengthening eyesight and improving concentration, to developing imagination, social skills, risk assessment and problem solving skills, spending time outside benefits every child’s health and well-being.
An increasing amount of research from around the world supports the idea that children need to spend more structured and unstructured time outside. Along with benefits to the social, cognitive and physical development, having time outside for unstructured, child-initiated play has been shown to increase self-esteem and self-regulation – key ingredients to a happy adult life. The outdoors offers optimal conditions for early learning and child development and sets a strong foundation for learning over the course of a lifetime.
The Clubhouse Farm is a nature playspace and outdoor classroom. It is a space that provides children with the freedom to explore and engage with the natural world around them. By offering a great deal of variation in play space – and an abundance of plants, insects, animals and conditions to spark interest, insight, and conversation with peers, teachers and parents – playing outdoors engages young children’s senses in many more ways than the indoors can.
Our program takes the elements of a classroom outside so that the benefits of nature supplement early learning experiences. The Farm has many different classroom spaces, including the Art Pavillion, Berry Classroom, and Outdoor Kitchen. Children can also be a part of planting, harvesting and preparing food, giving them the opportunity to learn where food comes from, develop new skills, and connect with the land. By helping to give children the healthiest start in life, we support our families who are committed to balancing work and home lives, and the communities of the Central Okanagan area.
The Clubhouse Farm was started in 2012 as a program to offer our children more time outside playing in nature. Spending time outside has so many benefits for children of all ages, and the staff too! Soon after the Farm program began, the Clubhouse received the British Columbia Child Care Award of Excellence in Innovation. The Farm hosts daycare, preschool, kindergarten to Grade 2 on Tuesday through Thursday. Monday and Fridays are now available for school age class visits. Learn more about our class visits here.
The Clubhouse Farm development plan is moving towards our goals to improve the nature playspace and classroom, supporting biodiversity, improving the local ecology, and increasing farm fresh produce. In the works are the Compost Classroom, Food Forest Classroom, Chicken Classroom, and the ongoing Forest Classroom. As a registered charitable organization, we are looking for like-minded community sponsors. Please inquire about how to support this non-profit initiative here.