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Making education work for change

7 Connection Gateways pedagogy

location_on Netherlands
More than ever, children miss nature connection. For their physical, emotional, social well-being, but also for their cognitive development, to think creatively, to improve their school results... and simply to experience what their world is made of. There is an urgent need to provide nature-based education, founded on an pedagogy which takes into account the specificities of this generation.
"If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it."

David Sobel


HundrED has not validated this innovation

Anyone can submit their innovation to HundrED Open. All information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been checked by HundrED. Innovation page has been created by Aurélia Chevreul-Gaud on June 16th, 2021
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Innovation Overview

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Updated on July 22nd, 2021
about the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

As a result of changes to our way of life, children’s relationship with nature is now based on a range of emotions, from total ignorance to deep distress, and the belief that any contact could be harmful to themselves… and to nature! We have designed a practical pedagogy to repair children’s altered connection with nature, while taking into account the reality of their lived experience.

How does your innovation work in practice?

The 7 connection gateways © is a pedagogy based on education WITH nature. The 7 connection gateways are paths we take to create a connection between the interior world of the child and their spheres of interest, and nature.

This outdoor teaching pedagogy uses different access points to meet the child’s initial affinity and to gently reduce their reluctance to spend time in nature. Each of these gateways leads the child to explore and then to wonder at nature.

Students can expand their horizons and interests towards the other gateways, gradually connecting in a deep and lasting way with the living world.

Between them, these 7 connection gateways take account of the curriculum, talents and know-how of most teachers and educators. They therefore provide a zone of proximal development for introducing children to nature.

The pedagogy leads experienced teachers and educators to extend and consolidate their outdoor education, their impact and their own connection to nature.

How has it been spreading?

Through our programmes, especially those conducted for international primary schools, we have gained over 1100 hours of child-nature connection. Through the 7 Connection Gateways Pedagogy, students have learned life skills, as well as academic concepts in math, science, language, art... What they learned from nature, about concepts such as waves, colours, measurement, balance... remained engraved in their heads.

More than that, we have been able to witness first hand the growing desire of teachers to educate with nature, but also their constraints to do so themselves.

After a successful pilot to train educators in a French institution, the pedagogy is now being taught to educators and teachers in primary schools in Europe, with the support of a strong growing community.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

For teachers in primary schools and educators, who want to:
- develop a deep connection between children and the living world
- enrich their pedagogical approach with real-world, inquiry-based learning
- meet their programme expectations, with nature-based teaching
- match the PYP / IB curriculum expectations
- give meaning to incentives for pro-environmental actions


See this innovation in action

Breaking the barriers!
Teachers and educators always seek for ways to promote motivation to learn. Exploration and discovery through outdoor experiences increases both engagement & enthusiasm for learning. However, outdoor pedagogy is still not a part of the curriculum in most schools. We are engaged to break the barriers for teaching outdoors!
Find the nature around you, wherever you are
Naya Nature Foundation's main mission is to connect children with their #localnature. In our countries of action, France and Netherlands, between 80% and 90% of the population lives in cities. #natureconnection must find its roots and be developed in #urbannature for all these kids. We, as well, deeply believe that all aspects of nature offers an opportunity for nature connection. Nature connection doesn't need big wild spaces every day. Daily immersive play and weekly organised activities with a nature-mediator/an adult in local park, gardens, green spaces, are the base of a long-lasting and deep connection. Check out the sources below, they are really interesting! *Sources:
How the Connection Gateways work together
One of our #7ConnectionGateways in #withmyhands : create a masterpiece from your harvest and imagination! This is exactly what the children of the Achachak #natureclub did last week, for their last session. They created music instruments after an #atpeace moment listening to the sound of water and relaxing (another Connection Gateway from our pedagogy). Then they played along with Lyes, special guest of our nature mediator Mejane Bertrand and they enjoyed it a lot. What a pleasure to connect with their local nature in so many different ways! crafting nature items to make instruments, relaxing and following the sound of nearby water and enjoying the beautiful environment of the #beatrixpark of Amsterdam.
💡 How is the 7 Connection Gateways pedagogy (c) linked with IB Curriculum? 💡 More and more teachers are convinced that it is good for their students to regularly explore the outdoors to improve their ability to concentrate or learn about nature. Yet a few of them (16%*) believe that this can enhance their curriculum. In fact, our 7 Connection Gateways© Pedagogy has strong links to the primary school curriculum, including the IB PYP. Let's take the example of our exploration about the dark colours of nature in winter: We first explored the local nature around us with the young students, focusing on black and dark colours and wondering, for example, at magpie feathers. Then, inspired by the artistic work of Pierre Soulages (a contemporary artist who painted amazing canvases to explore the black colour), we also wanted to create our own black (land)art. To do this, we used what nature around us had to offer, and we allowed ourselves to put into words what we liked, disliked and felt. As well as exploring artistic expression, we allowed ourselves to practice our approach to patterns - that being said, we could have had an excellent opportunity to explore symmetry, measurements or multiplication. But most of all, this was an amazing opportunity for us to deeply inquire: - What is really black? - How do dark colours behave? What happens when they are lit by sunlight, or when you put water on them? How does this dark chestnut look when placed next to an even darker stone? - Why do some of us see a black colour, while others see a less dark colour? (and what persuasive word will you choose to convince the other that's really black?) More generally, by exploring tree balance versus wind strength, echo-location or the tightness and depth of a river bed from a real living situation, starting with direct experience of our body and emotions, we offer the students a powerful sensory integration of litteracy, maths, science or art primary programmes. IB learners are inquirers, knowledgeable, communicator, open minded, reflective… so do the 7 Connection Gateways explorers! *According to a survey of 38 teachers, conducted by Naya Nature Foundation in partnership with the international primary school / May 2021
Today, Naya Nature Foundation is also teaching outdoors! Our Nature Mediators Méjane, Judith and Aurélia are in Amsterdam International Community School South East Campus, with groups 3 and 4! Kids are exploring the concept of waves in nature looking closely at... Earthworms! How do they move? How do they live? How are they related to their ecosystem? Why are they so important for our soil? How could we help them? Teachers are here too, enjoying the session, hands in the soil and a smile on their faces ... Will they dare to take earthworms in their hands??
7 Connection Gateways Pedagogy (c)
Teachers and educators always seek for ways to promote motivation to learn. Exploration and discovery through outdoor experiences increases both engagement & enthusiasm for learning. However, outdoor pedagogy is still not a part of the curriculum in most schools. We are here to break the barriers for teaching outdoors! Discover our unique outdoor pedagogy here, developed by Aurélia Chevreul Gaud :
🍃What are the benefits of nature-based education and 7 Connection Gateways Pedagogy (c)?
As a result of changes in our way of life, children’s relationship with nature is now based on a range of emotions, from total ignorance to deep distress, and the belief that any contact could be harmful to themselves… and to nature! We encounter more and more students who have internalised the idea that nature is fragile and that touching it, brushing up against it, being among it, can only harm it. They become paralysed by this fear while we need this future generations to rediscover its wisdom: a whole, made up of numerous interdependent elements which balance each other out. This is why the 7 Connection Gateways Pedagogy (c) entails a holistic approach to connect children with nature. So that each of them can connect with life around them and instead of feeling anxious about nature. Connected children know and feel they belong to nature and spontaneously care for it. The complementary nature of these gateways invites children to discover the body-emotion-spirit-environment integrity.
Training 100 Nature-Mediators to connect the new generation
La nature au secours de l'humanité - Will nature save our kids? | Aurélia CHEVREUL-GAUD | TEDxAnnecy
What triggered our action in favour of education through nature? Go back to the origins of the 7 Connection Gateways (c) Pedagogy by listening to our TEDx talk:
Dam Daily + Naya Nature | 28 June
Thank you Broadcast Amsterdam for receiving us and for the joyful and interesting talk! Claire, our Foundation Leader was the guest of the Dam Daily morning show... We discussed about our #natureclubs, #teacherstraining & Nature-mediation course and more broadly #NatureConnection, #ecoanxiety and #naturedeficitdisorder. Listen to the show and enjoy the radio every day: really nice songs were played for the pleasure of your ears & mind...


Achievements & Awards

July 2021
Crowdfunding campaign: objective achieved!
June 2021
Innovation page created on

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