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Sofia took her Early Childhood Education and Care career off the beaten track and founded Nature Explorers, a nature-based sustainability educational program where 'kids can be kids' while learning about the natural environment. She was inspired by her TAFE NSW teachers who helped shape her career.
Nature Explorers is a place where children run around and behave like ... children! Climbing trees while words of encouragement are called out by teachers. Words like “I know you can do it!” instead of "Get down, you’ll fall!"
In three years, Nature Explorers has grown from a pilot project with eight families to embrace 124 families.
It operates at a range of sites including bush-land, sand dunes and parks. Meanwhile, Sofia is teaching children to take care of the natural environment through conservation and sustainable practices.
The children are outside in a range of weather conditions and learn to welcome the sight of rain. Sofia encourages them away from screens and into nature, reconnecting with independent learning by discovering their own boundaries.
Sofia’s style is an antidote to a culture where screen-time is a concern for many.
Sofia had such a great experience as a TAFE NSW student that she is now returning as a teacher to share the knowledge and experience she had gained with her business.
“My teachers had real-life examples and understood the industry so they had terrific currency of knowledge to offer us as students,” she says.
"I was able to experience a hands-on approach to the industry, and that shaped where my career headed and the ideas I had.
“That is what inspired me to start teaching at TAFE NSW once I had gained some of my own experience changing the way children are spending their time. It’s important to pass that knowledge on.”
All TAFE NSW teachers have huge amounts of experience in the subject area they are teaching. And they like nothing more than to see their students thrive.