Spending Time with Nature-Learning Pedagogy -National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage-2022

How Children Learn at Foundational Stage-NCFFS-2022-rajeevelt
Spending Time in and with Nature
It is so much easier to understand what a fish is when you see it in front of you than only reading about it in a book or hearing about it in a story. And it is great fun too!

Some of my children have gardens at home. When we discussed plants, the other children became interested, and asked many questions about how plants grow, what they need and how do we know when to eat them. So, I decided to use a part of the small open area in the school as a vegetable garden.

Some of the children brought seeds from home, and I planted them with their help. The children took the responsibility of caring for and tending to the garden. As we harvested the ‘crops’, which were tomatoes and pumpkins, we distributed the produce among the children to take home to share with their families.

Next, we tried growing some dhania and pudina, and I brought in some potted flowering plants. Again, the children took care of the class ‘garden!’ As the children began to develop more interest in plants, we decided to explore the parks and green zones near our school. We took many nature walks, and the children and I were surprised to ‘discover’ flowers and weeds in the cracks at the side of the road, butterflies along with bugs, bees, ants, worms, and spiders.

My goal was to encourage children to observe, explore, question and respect nature in their immediate environment. My desire was to develop in them an affinity with the natural world, which would hold them in good stead as they grew older.

There are so many bright and beautiful and interesting things out there that intrigue a child or encourages her curiosity. A visit to the local woods or small forest or local park and seeing all the birds around would leave a child awestruck.

Spending time with plants and trees and birds and animals or just being quiet around nature can develop the basis for Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE).

National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage-2022

Ancient Indian texts have said that whether it is the individual human body or the larger cosmic body, essentially, they are made of five elements or the Panchabhutas – earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Illustratively: the Bala Chikitsa, one of the eight sections of Ashtanga Ayurveda, says the Panchabhutas manifest in different parts of our bodies. At this Stage, it is, therefore, important to introduce direct experience with water, air and earth so that children can experience this deep connection with the elements.


When I take the children out into the garden, when I stay close to them when they are playing outside the classroom, or while waiting for their parents to pick them up, I wonder at the questions they ask.

Shireen asked the other day, pointing to a small rock leftover from construction work that lay by the side of the road ‘What is under that rock?’ Sushma asked, upon seeing a small flock of birds descend into the school during assembly, ‘What are those birds picking up from the ground?’

Harpreet’s attention was drawn to the birds, and he exclaimed, ‘Why are the birds made of so many colours?’ I found Doma squatting near a wall, peering closely at something. It was a line of ants moving into a crack in the wall. ‘Where are they going? How will they find their way back?’ she asked when I checked on her.

I am not always sure how to deal with their questions. However, I want my children to keep asking these questions, since I understand that they can help children develop respect and appreciation for nature, and all its beauty.

I also understand that I must display the same curiosity and enthusiasm to ensure that their engagement with nature grows. Most important of all, I understand that my response to their questions must be, ‘I am not sure of the answer, but let us try and find out together’.

Excerpts from-

National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage-2022