Hello, I run an environmental program in the Phoenix AZ area for children in Preschool - 12th grade. Our program is based on the forest school model, though we call it a desert school since we have no forest to explore. I had initially started the program in Atlanta GA where we did have a forest and the children who participated in the program who were primarily age 8-11 had no issue participating in nature play on their own during their free exploration time. However here in AZ, I have noticed the older aged children in our program, which next year will be 1st-5th and 6th-9th, do not do so well when it comes to nature play during their free exploration time. Most of them just want to sit and talk. I am thinking it is partly because of the limited areas they can explore, no trees to climb, no items to build forts out of, etc. I haven't found many other organizations that offer programs similar to ours, which is a forest school modeled program, but in the desert ecosystem, and for older age children, so I haven't been able to bounce ideas off of anyone. I am hoping there are some others in this large EE community that may have some ideas. I will also mention that we do not have our own space and utilize public land spaces. Thanks in advance for any recommendations!
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