From birth there is a lot to be discovered in life; nature for instance, both the human nature and the natural world surrounding us.
Experiencing the natural environment is crucial for the child’s development. It has been shown that a ‘green environment’: brings mental tranquillity, promotes health, stimulates our senses, stimulates our skills and with that increases our self-confidence.
But human nature also needs to be discovered. First of all by caregivers of children and, ultimately, by children themselves: they need to be able to get to know themselves, without being hindered beforehand by normative reactions.
Moreover: our nature passionately wants to ‘discover’. The urge to discover the world is innate, like an uninhibited lust that spontaneously incites children to find out what things are, how it works and, some time later, why that is. This urge gives children an endless supply of energy to practice and repeat. Children can, however, loose that ‘intrinsic motivation’ if their caregiver does not recognize and understand this characteristic of the human kind.
The main pedagogic question here is: will we utilize or neglect and undermine that nature?
Dikkedeur provides children many chances to discover their natural habitat. We are one of six day-care centres in the Netherlands that participates in a nationwide project ‘Groen Gescoord’ (“Scored Green”), where the natural environment becomes a fixed component in the child-care. Our outdoor areas are green with vegetation and we even offer ‘natuuropvang’ in the forest (Kralingse Bos). Moreover, at Dikkedeur 2013 was in the theme of nature: Dikkedeur and Nature. (The theme of 2012 was: Dikkedeur and Art).
Our pedagogic policy is founded on knowledge of human nature. If necessary, pedagogic employees are given extra support in understanding the complexity of this nature and the translation into appropriate practices.
Children also discover their own nature and we help them, whenever needed. The intrinsic motivation is in good hands at Dikkedeur, by means of fitting and challenging toys and playing-activities, but above all by avoiding rewards. Rewarding children substitutes the intrinsic by an extrinsic motivation.