Our Bush Kinder and Outdoor Learning Environments

Welcome to our Bush Kinder and Outdoor Education Page.

Whilst you will receive updates via Xplor for your child’s progress and early years learning adventures, this page is designed to inform you on what will be happening in the Outdoor Learning Spaces each month. Each month we will update you on the development and themes we are engaging in with our children.

Our room blurbs will recommence in February. Our Focus in January is to ensure a secure and comfortable transition to care or to our children’s next room in the centre. We will update each room’s page at the start of each month from February 2021.

October 2021

As we head in to another month of Spring and beautiful warm weather, we are beginning to see a lot more birds and insects.

Miss Nikita has been busy supporting the children in identifying the various types of birds within the Bush Kinder environment. This is in preparation for the Australian Backyard Bird Count, which runs through the week of the 18th – 24th October 2021. Each day, as the children explore their Bush Kinder environment, Miss Nikita will work together with the children to count all the wonderful birds they all see. It would also be great to see families get involved in the bird count, by taking their children outside. You can find information about the bird count at https://aussiebirdcount.org.au/ or by downloading the app.

As the weather is getting warmer, the Pre-Prep children have identified that it is becoming too hot to have fires. Miss Nikita has been supporting the children in their discussions as they learn about the fire danger rating and what each rating means. The children have also been using their knowledge of identify how the weather can affect fires too. The Senior Kindy and Junior Kindy children have continued their group discussions and fire safety around the fire pit.

The Toddlers and Nursery children have begun utilising the Bush Kinder environment more and supporting the children as they explore. Throughout the remainder of the year, the Toddlers and Nursery children will continue to take small groups of children to engage in the Bush Kinder environment with the other rooms.

As the weather is now heating up, I would like to remind our families to please ensure your child has a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and enclosed shoes for their Bush Kinder sessions. We are also working on an exciting plan to ensure each child has appropriate clothing for their Bush Kinder sessions! Stay tuned!

Miss Nikita

September 2021

With the weather warming up, the children have been thoroughly enjoying the nice, warm days during their Bush Kinder sessions.

With Spring now here, the children will begin to see a lot more birds, bugs and wildlife within their natural environment, which the children will all be able to explore, using their new resources, binoculars and magnifying glasses.

The Pre-Prep children have been continuing to cook yummy foods on the fire pit. During the month of September, small groups from Senior Kindy and Junior Kindy will begin joining the Pre-Prep children and educators as they learn about fire safety around the fire pit. The children will also continue to learn about being safe around the fire pit, as they continue to engage in role-play situations.

The Pre-Prep and Senior Kindy children spent August making shelters using sticks and tarps. The educators will continue to support and scaffold the children’s learning by adding more tools to enhance the children’s creations. We can’t wait to see what creative ideas the children have!

The Toddlers and Junior Kindy children have been exploring their natural environment in small groups as they learn to dig using shovels, hammer pegs into the ground, jump over sticks and learn about the textures of leaves.

As the weather is now heating up, I would like to remind our families to please ensure your child has a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and enclosed shoes for their Bush Kinder sessions.

I can’t wait for another month of exploring Bush Kinder together!

Miss Nikita

August 2021

As we say goodbye to the amazing month July has been at bush kinder, we are excited for what August brings!

Over the past few weeks, the Pre-Prep children have been putting their fire safety skills in to practice as they begun having fires. The children have shown that they were more than ready to begin our next exciting step of bush kinder. In the month of August, the children will begin creating some yummy food to cook on the fire, such as damper, roasted apples and roasted marshmallows.

The Senior Kindy children will continue to learn about being safe around fires, by engaging in more role-playing situations, preparing themselves for next year’s cooler months.

The Junior Kindy children and Toddlers have been engaging in their natural environment with their peers and educators, as they explore the leaves, sticks, rocks and dirt. The children have begun using clay and mud to create artwork during their bush kinder sessions.

The educators will continue to support the Junior Kindy and Toddlers in their natural exploration and begin adding their creative pieces into their bush kinder environment.

On the 12th of August, we were to host a special workshop, ‘Risky, Dodgy, Dangerous play’, hosted by Marc Armitage at our centre. But due to Covid-19 and travel restrictions Marc will be doing this in November. However, the details that Marc will be discussing risky play and the many benefits risky play has to offer is very relevant to our July and August adventures as we continue with our fire and risky play.

As we prepare for our visit from Marc, we question “what is risky play?”. “Risky play is when the child’s skills exceed the challenges provide by the available equipment” – Ellen Sandseter.

Risky play is crucial to a child’s development so it’s important that educators and parents don’t prevent children from engaging in risky experiences and activities. Some of the key life-skill benefits to be gained from risky play include:

  • Building resilience and persistence
  • Balance and coordination – development of motor skills
  • Awareness of the capabilities and limits of their own bodies
  • The ability to assess and make judgement without risk
  • Handling of tools safely and with purpose
  • Understanding consequence to action
  • Confidence and independence
  • Resourcefulness
  • Creativity and inventiveness
  • Curiosity and inventiveness
  • Curiosity and wonder
  • Problem solving

So how can educators and parents support children in risky play?

  • Offering help when necessary.
  • Acknowledge the challenge and celebrate our child’s successes.
  • Use encouraging words of support to your child when challenging themselves in their environment.
  • Closely supervising and observing our children so that we are aware of their physical abilities and play choices.
  • Being physically close enough to step in at a moment’s notice if our children fall.
  • Using our own judgement to assess the “risk versus reward” of what our child is doing.
  • Being conscious of our own anxiety and trying not to transfer that to the child.

“…the more risks you allow children to take, the better they learn to take care of themselves. If you never let them take any risks, then I believe they become very prone to injury. Boys should be allowed to climb tall trees and walk along the tops of high walls and dive into the sea from high rocks… The same with girls. I like the type of children who takes risks. Better by far than the one who never does so.” – Roald Dahl

July 2021

Throughout June, the children and educators have been enjoying the beautiful, sunny winter days up at bush kinder.

Within the bush kinder environment, the children have been lucky enough to have some beautiful native birds visit, such as Kind Parrots, Rosellas, Rainbow lorikeets, Common Bronzewing, Kookaburras, Magpies and Noisy Myna birds. We have thoroughly enjoyed learning about the birds.There has also been a lot of magic within the bush kinder environment, with children creating an enchanting fairy house and engaging socially through pretend play.The children have also been caring for the environment, by showing respect to the trees, plants and also picking up any rubbish within their bush kinder site.

As we continue in to the month of July, the children will continue to be supported by their educators, through the child lead bush kinder program as they investigate their natural environment, all while having fun!As educators, we are constantly questioning, ‘why bush kinder?’. Bush Kinder provides children with a welcome change from familiar surroundings, a freedom to use imaginations and bodies in new and challenging ways. It offers an opportunity to connect in meaningful ways to local natural ecology, Indigenous culture and seasonal changes.

As children interact with nature, the experience is very different to that of a constructed learning environment. Nature play and bush kinder opens childrens’ minds, their imaginations and their freedom of choice. Within bush kinder, there are uneven surfaces and climbing places to support gross motor, coordination and balance skills, natural materials such as rocks, sticks, bark, leaves and dirt for the children to explore, manipulate and enhance their imagination, all while being supported by their educators.

With nature providing us with the perfect resources, there is no better place to have fun!

June 2021

Throughout the month of May, the educators have been really embracing the spontaneous, child lead learning with the Pre-prep and Senior Kindy children that has been happening within their natural environment. The children have been busy engaging in pretend play, using sticks as their fishing rods, creating a fairy house and playing cafes with the rocks. The educators have been using the child lead learning to have in depth, open ended discussions with the children about their learning.

The Pre-prep children are continuing to make preparations throughout the month of June as they become confident in navigating their way around the fire pit and engaging with their educators around the fire.

The Toddlers have also begun engaging in the bush kinder site on Fridays. Miss Nikita and the room educators have been working with the children in feeling safe, secure and supported within their new environment and encouraging them to explore, feel the various textures of nature and have fun.

The Junior Kindy children are beginning to explore colours and textures of their natural environment, identifying the colours of flowers and leaves which they find at bush kinder. The children have also begun using the logs and rocks in enhancing their gross motor skills as they become confident in their balancing and coordination.

Just a friendly reminder to ensure your child has enclosed shoes for their bush kinder session, preferably joggers as they are more supportive in balancing, climbing and exploring.

I look forward to another month of exploring and learning together!

April and May 2021

Welcome to another fantastic month of learning in nature!

Throughout April, the children showed a lot of meaningful engagement within their bush kinder site. Both mathematical and sensory skills were being used, by Senior Kindy and Pre Prep, as the children navigated these skills through the use of natural items, such as rocks, leaves, dirt and sticks. The educators spent time guiding, supporting, discovering and playing with the children as they explored those skills, through open ended questions, pretend play and social communication.

The younger rooms, Nursery, Toddlers and Junior Kindy, spent their time at bush kinder navigating a variety of rough and uneven surfaces to walk, run and climb on. This variety of surfaces support the children in enhancing their balance and coordination skills, as well as developing muscles, using different parts of their bodies and becoming familiar in a new play environment.

As we move in to the cooler, winter months, Miss Nikita has been busy preparing the bush kinder site and children in creating a fire pit. The children have been practising the safety measures of being around an open fire pit, through group discussions, role playing, pretend play and general conversation. The fire pit is something in which the educators and children at Karalee are excited about, as it has many benefits to add to the children’s learning. Miss Nikita will spend the next two months continuing to prepare the children and educators before we have our first fire.

As we come into the month of May, there have been some new and exciting changes for bush kinder. The Junior Kindy children are now attending bush kinder on Monday, which will now return to being supported by Miss Nikita. Pre Prep will go all together on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Senior Kindy will all be going on Wednesdays and the Toddlers and Nursery now have their very own day, supported by Miss Nikita, on Fridays.

Also, a reminder, to ensure your child has enclosed shoes for their bush kinder session. Joggers are preferred, as they are the most supportive shoe for the children in their exploration.

I look forward to another fantastic month of bush kinder together!

March 2021

Welcome to another fantastic month of Bush Kinder!

The children have really settled in quite well with the Bush Kinder routine. As the children have now begun to feel comfortable within the Bush Kinder environment, they have become more involved and resilient learners. They have also utilised their environment to engage socially through pretend play.

The children have enjoyed searching for bugs and insects, as they learn about their life cycle and where they may live, what they may eat. They have also been lucky enough to see some noisy minor birds create a nest in the trees above them.

Miss Nikita has been busy working with the children to help support them in identifying dangers and how the children can be safe in their environments. This has also supported the children in their preparation for Clean Up Australia Day as they show awareness of the risks which they may come across outside the centre.

The Eco Farm has begun getting a makeover, with Miss Nikita working with the children to prepare the gardens for the next harvest. If you have any cuttings or seedlings, please feel free to bring them in! We would love your contribution to our Eco Farm area.

In the outdoor environment, the children have been busy and engaged in the activities provided. The children have been utilising the loose parts and letting their imaginations run wild, creating home offices like their Mum’s and Dad’s use with computers, and also creating ball runs with the pipes. With the weather being nice and hot, the children have enjoyed water play activities in the mornings and afternoons, running through the sprinklers.

We are looking forward to another beautiful month as the weather cools slightly and allows us to spend more time engaging in our outdoor environments.

Best wishes,

Miss Nikita

February 2021

What an amazing start to Bush Kinder the children have had this year!

The children have all adapted quite well to their new bush kinder routines and have become familiar within their new environment. This has allowed the educators to begin supporting the children in exploring the environment more thoroughly, through social activities such as role playing in the tee pee, using natural resources such as sticks and rocks, and discussions about the fire pit, how to be safe around it and what we could cook on it. The children have also shown a strong interest in becoming confident leaners as they navigate the slack line, and as they learn to climb trees.

Miss Nikita has also supported the children in showing care and respect for their environment as they prepare for Clean Up Australia Day, by discussing with the children how rubbish impacts our environment and what we can do together to help keep our environment safe and free from rubbish.

Over the month of February, Miss Nikita will continue to work with the children in caring for the environment, which will also include maintaining the Eco Farm, as well as continuing to extend on the children’s interests in their bush kinder environment.

Just a friendly reminder that your child requires enclosed shoes for their bush kinder session, preferably joggers, a long sleeve shirt, long pants and socks.

In the outdoor environment the children have been engaging socially through various activities in the morning and afternoons. The children have been particularly interested in the loose parts, creating roads, towers and tracks with the pipes, wooden blocks and reels. To support the children in continuing to expand on their imagination, we would love to build up our loose parts area. If you have any items, such as crates, pipes, tubes, wooden reels, pine cones, seed pods, wooden log off cuts, etc, please let us know!

I am looking forward to a very exciting February as we continue to foster our children’s dedication to nature play!

Til next time,

Miss Nikita.