What a pleasure it was to arrive at the nursery on a dark, wet Autumnal morning to see all the lovely plants thriving in their environment. They literally lift my spirits just looking at them!
Plants are nature’s anti-stressors, and not only do they look beautiful, they clean our air and bring a sense of calm and serenity to our busy nursery environment. Working with plants is proven to lower our cortisol levels and promotes the well-being of the staff and children.
Personally, I love to stroke the plants although the nursery practitioners think that’s very strange; I tell them to try it; its calming and relaxing to feel connected to nature.
If this is the effect that plants have on me, then surely they have the same impact on our children who intuitively love to explore their natural environment. It’s so important for children to learn to respect our plants and trees from an early age and it is an integral part of the Canopy pedagogy. Simple tasks such as watering the plants reminds us of our connection to nature and teaches children that we have a responsibility to care for our plants and our environment. You’re never too young to learn about sustainability and caring for plants links with many of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
It is especially important at this time of year to bring plants into the indoor environment as we inevitably cannot get outside as much as during the Summer months. The plants not only provide a focus and talking point for the children to begin conversations about nature, conservation and where food comes from, but literally touching the soil can release serotonin and dopamine in our brains, promoting wellness and reducing stress. Plants, particularly those with large leaves help to reduce background noise; an essential requirement in a busy nursery!
My personal favourite is the ever serine fern. Their hushed tones and elegant fronds remind me of my happy place; walking my dogs in the woods and sitting amongst the canopy of trees.
So strange as it may seem; I will continue inviting busy parents, staff and children to stroke the plants, joining in my plant therapy.