Big Fat Smile

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We enrich the lives and minds of our children and families in their communities.

- Big Fat Smile

In the beautiful Sydney Harbour National Park in late 2018 more than 25 organisations met at the inaugural #NatureForAll Australia Forum. One of those organisations was Big Fat Smile, a not-for-profit, community-owned child education, care and inclusion service organisation that serves 3,500 families and provides 400,000 unique care experiences per year. A Big Fat Smile representative attended to provide a voice for their children, families and communities. Specifically they articulated their support for children’s rights to a safe, clean natural environment and promote increased access to nature. At the meeting, Big Fat Smile pledged to train 20 staff in nature play.

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We recognize that children can gain emotional, social and physical benefit from spending time in nature.

- Jenni Hutchins, Chief Executive Officer, Big Fat Smile

So in December 2018, Big Fat Smile contracted Dr Amanda Lloyd, of Outdoor Connections to run three training sessions for their Outside of School Hours Care (OSHC) staff. From a rainy day to a scorching day, the staff braved the elements to learn about scavenger hunt walks, story plays, shelter building, outdoor risk assessment, beach activities and nature-based games. The course sought to increase the confidence of OSHC staff to take children outdoors, whether that be an excursion to the beach, the Illawarra escarpment for bushwalking, school grounds or neighbourhood parks.

Jenni Hutchins, Chief Executive Officer, Big Fat Smile explained that “increasingly parents are living in urban areas, are time-poor and are reliant on Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) services. We recognise that children can gain emotional, social and physical benefit from spending time in nature, whether it be an excursion to the beach during the vacation care (school holidays) or exploring bushy areas of school grounds and local parks. We have trained our OSHC educators in the basic principles of outdoor learning and nature play. As role models, if our educators feel comfortable and enjoy nature, then our students are more likely to be relaxed and connect with nature. For us, the natural environment offers many healthy, safe and fun play-based learning opportunities that should be experienced during childhood.

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As role models, if our educators feel comfortable and enjoy nature, then our students are more likely to be relaxed and connect with nature.

- Jenni Hutchins, Chief Executive Officer, Big Fat Smile

Providing childhood experiences in nature is good for children and our organisation. We believe that parents want their children to get out into nature more often to balance the screen time that is omnipresent in their lives. We are responding to this demand and in doing so, our children and parents are happy. #Natureforall is one of the ways which we can bring our organisational vision statement to life: We enrich the lives and minds of our children and families in their communities.”

In February 2019, Big Fat Smile joined #NatureForAll.

#NatureForAll Campaign