Bush Kinder – Learning in Nature

‘It’s time to return to childhood, to simplicity, to running and climbing and laughing in the sunshine, to experiencing happiness instead of being trained for a lifetime of happiness. It’s time to let children be children again.’ by LR Knost

At Wilson Street Kindergarten, we believe that children are naturally curious and are motivated to explore their natural environment. We recognise the importance of providing opportunities where children can engage in the outdoors and develop a further sense of self and a respect for the environment. At bush kinder the children take the lead in playing, exploring and learning in nature.

The Wilson Street Kindergarten bush kinder program runs at a local park on a weekly basis. In conjunction with the staff, the children set a boundary for their play. The children develop play with materials that they find in nature increasing creativity, divergent thinking skills, collaboration with others and exploration. 

Some of the benefits we see in bush kinder are:

Our BK program offers children space; not only physically but emotionally – there is room for children to be active and noisy, messy and engaged which children may experience ,in what appears to be a less adult controlled environment.  Being outside is SPECIAL and deeply engaging for children.

Outdoor play gets children moving – the outdoor space offers children essential experiences vital to their wellbeing, health and development in all areas. 

Being outside makes children feel happy – research continually shows that playing outside makes children feel happier. When outside, children have the freedom to explore different ways of being, interacting and behaving. 

Boost immunity – fresh air, vitamin D and physical movement: heading outside can reduce illness and its spread in early childhood education settings.

Promotes creativity – with less structure than inside spaces, taking our early learning setting outside promotes creativity in the children as it encourage them to think outside the box and explore.

Fosters respect and connection to the environment – from trees and flowers to birds, animals, sticks, leaves and rocks, nature has plenty of stimuli for the children to explore, admire and have educational experiences with. Instilling this love and appreciation of nature from a young age can help create a generation who respect the planet and feel connected to the world around them.

The Early Years Framework invites educators to consider the outdoors as “open-ended interactions, spontaneity, risk taking, exploration, discovery and connect with nature” EYLF. Our bush kinder program fosters and embraces this.

‘Nature pedagogy is an understanding of our sense of belonging to land, our sense of working with nature’ Claire Warden.

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