Number 23 - December 2001
Parents and guardians of infants, of about 3 years old, are the targets for this original programme set up by the Cox Arboretum and Gardens Metropark. Stroller Strut involves an hour-long stroll through the gardens with the aims of:
- creating a joyful, relaxed atmosphere for parents and children to participate in nature
- teaching parents the importance of nature in the life of the young child and how it develops cognitive skills and creates a sense of security and well being
- teaching parents and children a repertoire of plants that are safe for children to touch, smell and eat
- facilitating social interaction and support between parents and children.
A unique aspect of the Stroller Strut is that it utilises the parent or primary caregiver as the primary teacher. Each strut is topic based i.e. colour, scent, flowers, music etc. The group is taken around the gardens exploring experiences that match the topic. Interpreters pick flowers and give leaves, pine cones, seeds etc, to the 'strutters' to take home, teaching them how to use the artefacts to stimulate their child’s learning and discovery. During extremely hot weather blankets are laid out under trees and the 'strutters' take their babies out of the strollers to explore natural items and look through picture books with natural themes. After a 45-60 minute walk the group returns to the Visitor Centre for lemonade, evaluations, and socialising.