The project “Together in Nature” is especially intended for children with special needs, such as a categories that are not offered many opportunities for outdoor recreation. Through nature, children gain important skills and learn how to care for the environment and the creatures that live in it, but also nurture their growth and development by exploring nature. Being in nature to enjoy it and reap its benefits is something we all deserve. Through this project, we aim to raise awareness of the importance of equal treatment of children with special needs as well as providing suitable conditions for their development both physically and mentally, encouraging and pushing them to participate in sports, environmental protection, and stimulation for further development. Therefore, through our project we are trying to create memories for children with Autism as well as children with Down Syndrome.
For the children participating in the project, outdoor activities offer the promotion of communication, emotions, cognition, interaction and physical activity. Outdoor activities influence them to acquire new motor skills, including coordination, balance, and encourage language and cooperative skills among them. Also, outdoor activities improve their awareness, reasoning and observational skills. Spending time outdoors reduces stress and stimulates social interaction among children, while outdoor play provides opportunities for children to experience the real world.
“The outdoor activities with the children of our Center influenced the growth of their social skills, including coordination, balance and dexterity and also encouraged better development of language and cooperative skills among them. We are very grateful and look forward to our future collaborations.” – said a representative of the organization “Down Syndrome Kosovo”.
A walk in the Bear Sanctuary, getting to know the flora and fauna, and yoga were just some of the activities in which the children participated: The walk at the Bear Sanctuary positively affected the growth of their motor skills and interacting with nature enhanced their expressions; The presentation on flora and fauna prepared by ecologist Erëlinda Sallauka sparked their curiosity, which made them ask so many fascinating questions. They showed immense enthusiasm for the story of Uta Ibrahimi and her ascents through the highest peaks of the world. In the end, yoga with the Erëza Vokshi, also affected their balance and physical skills in a positive way.
“These outdoor activities are very helpful and you are always welcome to work with us. You also have the support of their family members. We thank you for your dedication you’ve shown to the children who are so in need of such outdoor activities. All these activities have had a positive impact on their communication, emotions and interactions.” – said a representative from the “Progress Resource Center – Pristina”.
The teachers and accompanying family members of the children participating in the “Together in Nature” project were very pleased and enthusiastic, explaining to us that the nature walk and visiting the bears influenced the growth of mental abilities, interactivity with nature and the expression of emotions of their children/students. They were also very grateful for the impact we had through the presentation on flora and fauna, where we encouraged the children to ask many questions with curiosity and high emotions, while they emphasized the involvement of children in yoga as an important activity that affected their balance and physical skills.
It was a pleasure to see the children smiling and experiencing the activities willingly. We will continue with such necessary projects, because we believe that everyone should experience nature with all the goodness it contains.
The annual project “Together with Nature” is implemented by the Utalaya Foundation and supported by the Municipality of Pristina.