Exploring reserve all part of early learning day
Learning about dangerous snakes, spotting and identifying animal droppings and checking out the birdlife are all part of a bush care program for four year olds at Goodstart Burpengary – Rowley Rd.
Every year, the children and their educators sign up for the program at the Caboolture Region Environmental Education Centre (CREEC), eager to have fun and learn at the same time.
CREEC run several workshops, field days and lectures and education programs include Exploring Habitats, Burpengary Creek Catchment Story, Habitat Destruction and Repair, Threatened Wildlife and Sustainability.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the Burpengary centre, CREEC is on an 18 hectare reserve which incorporates Burpengary Creek.
Goodstart Burpengary centre director Brenda Lloyd said the program supported children’s learning on sustainability and their natural environment, and incorporated road, bush and snake safety.
“The program really fosters a love of the world in which they live,” Ms Lloyd said. “They develop a love of the environment and it’s such a hands-on experience – there is only so much they can do within a centre.
“It’s a free community resource, great for community engagement and our parents love it and often come in to check out the bushland.”
Each week the children are challenged by missions provided by the Nature Play Passport, a healthy living initiative in partnership with Queensland National Parks.
The missions range from collecting seeds and debris to transform into sculptures, creating leaf imprints, and spotting animal traces and identifying the culprits.
“The children have a little job each week to fulfil which has included identifying different kinds of animal droppings which they think is very funny,” Ms Lloyd said.
Lessons are taken back to the centre and put in to practice as work farms and other recycling schemes.
“The children have also visited the sensory gardens which feature plants including lemon myrtle, boxes for bats to nest in and a plant nursery, and there’s a great playground which the children describe as “the best playground in the world”.
Recent research from Deakin University shows that there is a growing link between physical activity, nature and health and the shift to indoor play is raising health concerns including obesity and a lack of cognitive development.
Research author Dr Mardi Townsend said outdoor play was a vital element in children’s growth and healthy development, and allowed children to be children.