Our service is a nature-based centre with an Approved Nature Play Bush Kinder Program. Our Bush Kinder Program was developed through our centre philosophy of embracing nature as one of our greatest tools in our classroom.
Bush Kinder Program
Our service is a nature-based centre with an Approved Nature Play Bush Kinder Program. Our Bush Kinder Program was developed through our centre philosophy of embracing nature as one of our greatest tools in our classroom. It centres upon the premise that children learn best in a holistic sense, with the indoors and outdoors as their classroom.
We are incredibly lucky as our outdoor environment’s adjoining land, (which is part of our centre land), was able to be cleared, cultivated and broadly designed to allow our children and educators to partake in a Bush Kinder Program.
The area is fully fenced and able to be accessed through our existing playground gates. This allows our centre children and educators the unlimited opportunity to engage in Bush Kinder learning experiences on a daily basis as their program and interests dictate.
Why Engage in Bush Kinder?
Outdoor learning environments provide opportunities for children to engage in open-ended, diverse and meaningful learning experiences that are connected to nature, whilst also being connected to curriculum.
Outdoor learning environments provide a rich opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills, behaviour and dispositions of learning as outlined by the Australian Curriculum General Capabilities; particularly in the areas of Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability, Ethical Understanding and Intercultural Understanding.
Through bush kinder experiences, children experience authentic challenges in whatever degree that means for them. They exercise decision-making and learn the consequences of those decisions and how to self-correct. They learn to manage, control and even overcome their fears by taking risks. This helps them learn what they are able to do and how far they can push themselves. (Natureplay, South Australia, 2017).
When children overcome a challenge, they experience a genuine sense of achievement and self-satisfaction. Research undertaken by Knackstredt & Wellisch, 2005, suggests that children will engage in less risky behaviours, when the environment offers a variety of experiences with appropriate levels of challenge. Experiencing success and failure is an important part of this learning, as is supporting children to ‘have a go’.
If children are to experience the benefit of risk and challenge in a supervised setting, a positive approach to risk is required.
“setbacks, mistakes and failures are how to learn and the experience provides the foundation that teaches children how to be resourceful, persistent, innovative and resilient.“ (Jessica Lahey, The Guardian, 2015).
Through families and educators embracing the benefits of risky play and ensuring safety is adhered to, children can make informed decisions and challenge themselves individually in a learning environment. This allows them the security of knowing their educators are aware and preventing the hazards children cannot foresee in their play and environment. This way they can choose to take risks their educators are prepared for and can managed in the given Bush Kinder environment.
What we do in Bush Kinder
|Playing imaginative games using the resources nature provides||Open-ended learning allows children to explore at their own pace and with their own challenges.|
|Role play||Shared imagination, drama, team work, recollection of models of behavior.|
|Building shelters or other large structures from branches, with the help of other children and adults||This requires goal definition, planning, engineering, teamwork and perseverance.|
|Counting objects or looking for mathematical patterns||Mathematical and visual recognition|
|Drawing scenes||Art, creativity, accurate inspection and copying.|
|Arranging natural available items to make a picture or build something||Art, planning, engineering, teamwork and perseverance, concentration|
|Memory games using naturally available objects||Memory, naming objects|
|Building a fire||Sustainability, heat and science, team work, concentration, goal definition, planning, perseverance|
|Creating a Bush Tucker Garden||Sustainability, goal definition, planning, teamwork, perseverance, ongoing maintenance and tending|
|Listening to stories, singing songs and rhymes||Art, drama, concentration|
|Playing hide-and-seek with others||Rewards accurate anticipation of the thoughts and actions of others.|
|Walking within the Bush Kinder||Improves strength and stamina; preparation (e.g., route selection) improves planning and communication skills.|
|Climbing trees, walking on logs and rocks, and exploring bush
(See Attachment 1 for Tree Climbing Risk Benefit Analysis
|Improves strength, balance and physical awareness|
|Play involving water where it occurs naturally (for example puddles and on walks in the rain in weather conditions and their effect on the Bush Kinder area (wearing waterproofs – see Bush Kinder Program: Protective Clothing Policy)||Experience and understanding of all the natural environment