The Power of Play in Nature – Why don’t our schools do more? Free Public Forum

Eminent Finnish educator Professor Pasi Sahlberg will be keynote speaker at a free public forum on the Power of Play in Nature at The Concourse, Chatswood on Thursday 5 March.

Sahlberg is the former Secretary-General of Education in Finland, author of two books on the Finnish educational success story, and now Professor of Education at the Gonski Institute at the University of NSW.

His latest book, Let the Children Play, is a powerful research-based argument for more play in Australian schools.

Joining him as guest speaker at the Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School sponsored forum will be Professor Tonia Gray from Western Sydney University who has devoted the majority of her academic career to examining the interrelationship of people, nature and wellbeing.

She argues that in the last few decades, society has become estranged from the natural world, mainly due to our busy urban lives and our love affair with technological devices.

“Contrary to the belief we Aussies are a nature-loving outdoor nation, research suggests we’re spending less and less time outdoors. This worrying trend is also becoming increasingly apparent in our schools and other educational settings,” Gray says.

Yet the evidence is that play in nature can enhance creativity, bolster mood, lower stress, foster social skills, improve mental acuity, wellbeing and productivity.

So, why don’t our schools do more?  This free public forum will consider what schools, and parents, can do to address what US author and researcher Richard Louv has called NDS or Nature-Deficit Syndrome.

This important public forum for parents and educators will consider how we can all do more to address the many educational benefits that play in nature can foster.

Head of Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School, Andrew Hill, host of the seminar says, “In a time of environmental crisis, it’s even more urgent for our children to build a sense of earth stewardship, a sense of care and responsibility for the planet.”

MC at the forum will be Lucy Clark, Associate Editor at The Guardian, and author of Beautiful Failures, a commentary on the Australian education system.

Prof. Pasi Sahlberg, Prof. Tonia Gray and Lucy Clark will be available for book signing after the forum.

To register, go to

EVENT: The Power of Play in Nature

DATE: Thursday 5 March 4pm-6:30pm

LOCATION: The Concourse Theatre, 409 Victoria Ave Chatswood NSW