At You're Invited we are so fortunate to have several trees and I believe ours are being used to to fullest of God's intentions for providing them to us. Some of these trees are huge and provide the best natural shade and we are blessed to have a few that offer even more gifts. Our trees that have low, strong branches provide endless opportunities for our children. Low branches provide a feeling of being enclosed and give children a place that feels like their own little shelter. Swings are possible when branches are low and of course the amazing, powerful feat of being able to climb something "hugemungus" like a tree. As much as these trees offer, they can not be fully utilized without offering children the time to use them to their fullest potential.
It is so important that children are given long amounts of time with the freedom to make their own choices in their play. It easy to be convinced of the fallacy that children need to constantly be presented with curriculum and provided with information constantly. The intention behind these overly structured environments is to "get them ready" but what happens are children that can be stressed, overwhelmed and unable to think on their own. They become dependent on outside resources to be stimulated and they don't develop the inner resources that can equip them for their future.
Children need to be given time and spaces that are rich for building language and friendships, working out drama and creating pretend dramas, they need the time and space to be free, to think without interruption, to dream and to relax.