AFSA Approved Provider: Wild Earthlings
Wild Earthlings has been operating on Darug Country since May 2019, offering weekly immersion programs for children and their families. As well as weekly sessions, we offer birthday parties, learning service visits and educator training. These sessions are guided completely by the children, and their views, ideas and backgrounds are honoured in every decision we make. Children have a chance to climb trees, paint, use clay, use tools in mindful ways, engage in storytelling, connecting to themselves and each other. It is not so much about the experiences they engage in however; it is about the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing they build whilst being part of these experiences. Our focus is on connecting children to the Earth in a myriad of different ways because we whole heartedly believe that this is one of the most important relationships children can ever form.
As our philosophy says: We believe in a slow childhood, and aim to provide a setting where children are free to explore at their own pace and interact with the world around them in an authentic and unhurried way. Play is the highest form of research and we want to honour this by sparking children’s imagination every day. As well as this, providing invitations and provocations to learning within this natural setting, based on the children’s interests, will allow us to follow along the path of knowledge with each child.
Children are free to move quickly through the space, engaging in every opportunity that is presented by us and the earth. They are also free to lay on the grass and observe clouds throughout the whole session, this is part of honouring each child’s personal journey.
Our philosophy also states: Our land is an ancient beauty, which has a sacred knowledge, held by our First Nations people. We honour those who were here before us by learning traditional practices, building local connections and building respect and reverence amongst our little people. Not only this, but acknowledging and exploring our shared history and exploring difficult concepts in respectful and open ways. Including Indigenous perspectives in our practice is an important part of not only celebrating the earth but instilling a childhood full of perspective, respect and timeless wisdom and knowledge.
It is our aim that in every part of our operations, First Nations voices are present and respected. The authenticity with which we carry this out is always growing, and as our company values as well as our personal understanding builds, so too does the way in which we share and connect.
Wild Earthlings sessions are open to participants from any and all backgrounds, abilities and beliefs. We find that the diversity of our groups strengthens the communities we create for people. In September of 2020 I was struck by the diversity of the group we had and wrote these words: “Apart from the connection to the natural world, What I love about Wild Earthlings is the people I get to be in contact with. Where else can I be having a conversation with two artists, a yogi, a special needs educator, a physical health specialist and a doula?” Each family brings a unique viewpoint and it is a joy to share this.
Being a mentor is part of our celebration of the Earth, if we don’t share it then what’s the point? Each child who comes into our care is supported to recognise and respond to risk as well as share their experience with others. We encourage children to scaffold for each other and provide spaces for multi age learning. Our mentoring extends to the adults who access our services as well. Formal training has been one of the most rewarding experiences and seeing the way Early Childhood educators collaborate, reflect and grow during our training is a source of great joy. Informal conversations can hold just as much power and as families sit in our sacred circle discussing their challenges and triumphs, everyone is learning.
Our biggest focus is the preservation and growth of the Earth and all resources, both physical and immaterial, connected to her. Our three rules; we look after ourselves, we look after each other, we look after what we have, encompass respect for the earth and the power we hold within ourselves for its preservation. Connecting to children of all ages will also ensure that the earth ends up in the hands of those who care about it, and that its health can be ensured.