Pilke Tuulenpesä implements the Finnish Outdoor Association’s At Home in Nature concept and has 28 daycare places for children aged 1–5 years. The nature-oriented daycare centre’s objective is to provide safe and child-centred early education and care in a versatile, homelike environment that enables learning with all senses. The children wonder, explore and observe their surroundings in interaction with the educators. This enables us to strengthen the children’s self-awareness and realistic conception of their skills and capabilities in an encouraging, open and unhurried manner.
In the group of 1–3-year-olds, we place emphasis on everyday routines that support development and create an unhurried atmosphere where everyone respects each other. We practise focusing on play and sharing with peers. A warm hug is always available if needed, and we provide opportunities for interaction by inquiring, listening to and understanding the children’s ideas.
Our daily activities are staggered small group-specifically. When two groups go outdoors, one group continues their educational indoor activities, such as playing group games or pondering puzzles by the table. Children can independently build jigsaw puzzles, craft items and engage in other exciting activities that develop the hand-eye coordination, and even 1-year-olds can participate in these activities under instruction. The youngest children dine in a separate group, and they have a made bed waiting just in case the Sandman pays a visit during the mealtime.
The group of 3–5-year-olds practise important everyday things, such as social skills and considerate behaviour. The 3–4-year-olds learn fine motor skills through exercises carried out by the table. Puzzles, shape sorting games and other table activities that require dexterity develop both precision and patience, for example when blocks have to be inserted through the holes that match their shape.
The preliminary pre-school group of 5-year-olds practise important group work skills and focusing on tasks and exercises for pre-school and the school world. The group’s special preliminary pre-school exercises allow the children to practise using the pencil and their wits as solving the exercises requires pondering and deduction. We may spend a large part of the day outdoors where the children get to play, participate in games and learn new things under the educators’ instruction. During longer outdoor activities, the Lapp hut in the daycare centre yard is a good place to take a break to warm ourselves when the weather is wet or cool.