I am beyond excited to announce that in term 1 of 2021, SWAMP will be launching and I will be hosting SWAMP’s Foodie Nature Play , here on the Central Coast, NSW.

Woop!

This has been a dream of mine for a long time. To be able to work on the land, where children can come and experience and play with food and the natural surrounds, with me. Get their hands dirty, breathe the fresh air and share story, play and eat food together.

I love running all our incursions in ELCs, preschools and early primary. But there is something about having a place. A place and space connected with the environment, where the children can experience and watch their own seed sprout, grow, and then pick it, explore it, prepare it and if they feel like, eat it.

And even better, it is in my community of the Central Coast, NSW.

 

So what is the Foodie Nature Play playgroup?

Foodie Nature Play is a nurturing playgroup for children from 6 months to 6 years. Accompanied by a special adult in their life. It can be their Mum, Dad, Grandparents, Nanny, special friend, Uncle or Aunty or a dreamy Carer.

 

What happens during a session?

Each session is created for children to develop a sense of wonder and discovery around food and nature.

The mornings will begin with welcome songs and varied free play stations. Then before we share morning tea (which we provide) we will come together as a group for a more structured activity. Each week it rotates between a puppet story, gardening, cooking or a larger arts and craft activity.

For example if it was Summer and our theme for the week was “Eating a Rainbow” you might find:

  • We would go for a walk around the garden and wetlands with our exploring capes.
  • We would sing welcome and goodbye songs and have some light movement, breath and awareness as a group.
  • Varied other activities on offer could be water play with frozen ice with colourful flowers or fruits inside; naturally coloured rainbow playdough with flowers and tools; wood and materials for making cubbyhouses; sticks and leaves for making wands; mud kitchen set up.
  • The main activity could be a story about eating the rainbow.
  •  Our snack could be a rainbow platter of fruits and vegetables.

 

My child is a fussy eater, is that a problem?

Of course not! Everyone is welcome.

As I am a nutritionist and have worked with children for a long time, I can help you dig a little deeper to see perhaps if there is an underlying root cause or perhaps more of a developmental thing. If there is more of an underlying issue, I can help direct you to where would best to get some additional help with trusted paediatric health professionals.

Or if it is developmental, give you some strategies to help support you at home. And of course our Foodie Nature Play and engagement and exposure to the beautiful world of food is one of them.

Our values around food education are that children are learning about food and that it is important for them to explore where it comes from; how it is raised and grown; how we share and prepare it amongst our communities, families and friends; how we eat it together; and how it makes us feel in our bodies and helps us grow.

By being involved in all aspects of food, this will empower a deeper understanding, trust and respect for food. And in response, the aim is for children to develop a positive relationship with food, the environment and their community.

We also deeply believe that a child should have access and connection to their natural surrounds. And that dirt and nature reach their bodies and minds through their food and their play.

Hence, Foodie Nature Play.

Where is it held?

For the last few months, we have been involved with the set up of the new Community Garden space in Tuggerah NSW, SWAMP Central Coast.

This initiative is one we are very proud of and excited to see grow.

  • Grow with the children.
  • Grow with community events.
  • Grow with music and the arts.
  • Grow with educational workshops for all ages.
  • Grow with access to the whole community of varying abilities, demographics and cultural backgrounds.
  • Grow with gardens, heaving with produce, trees and quiet spaces for people to sit and relax.
  • Grow with knowledge of the area, environment and its history.

 

SWAMP is located at the Central Coast Wetlands, Pioneer Dairy, a historic dairy site on South Tacoma Road.

We acknowledge and pay respects to the traditional custodians of this land which are the Darkinjung and Guringai People, who remain the spiritual and cultural owners of this land today.

How much does it cost?

One session of Foodie Nature Play is $15 for one child and their adult companion. If you have two children, than the second child is $10.

If you have a baby under 6 months, then they are free.

Please go to our booking site here.

 

Can I book the whole term?

Yes you can, but you will need to book each session individually at this stage. This is to give flexibility to families and children.

Please go to our booking site here.

 

I can’t make Wednesdays, is there another day?

We would love to offer a second day each week. This will be determined by how much demand there is by the community.

The more you ask, the more likely it will happen. So if you have another day you would prefer, please let me know via email mandy@littlepeoplenutrition.com.au so that I can see if we can pop on a second day.

 

Will there be food offered?

Each session, a small morning tea snack will be offered. These will predominantly be fruit and vegetable based. We also offer every few weeks a specific food preparation and cooking activity with the children. This will then be the morning tea offering.

When you book a session, there will be a prompt for you to write down if there are any allergies or intolerances within your family unit.

We are very aware and sensitive to the needs of families with allergies and can easily change or accommodate you as needed. It is my firm belief that all children should have the opportunity to cook and engage with food, in a safe environment.

 

What if it is raining?

We are predominantly an outdoor event but are also of the belief that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.

As our aim is to connect with nature, we will only be cancelling an event if the weather is quite extreme. Either too hot, or thunderstorms for example. This will be done on the day and via email at 8am.

 

What if my child is sick?

We are a COVID safe location so if you or your child are unwell, with a sore throat, fever or unwell with any other illness, we respectfully ask that you do not attend. We can easily refund your session.

We do understand that this can be frustrating, I am too a Mum of three children and have many times had to cancel appointments due to ill children.

We are an ELCs or preschool, can we come?

This playgroup is for the general public. At SWAMP, we are creating packages specifically for ELCs and preschools of the area. We are finalising the number of plots in the design of the garden, which can facilitate this.

If you are interested in a program at SWAMP, please email me at mandy.dossantos@swampcentralcoast.com.au

 

Where can I book a session?

Please go to our booking site here.

We can’t wait to meet you!

 

And if you any other concerns that I have not answered here, please get in touch via email at mandy@littlepeoplenutrition.com.au