All aboard for the great outdoors
Visiting the beautiful Mornington Peninsula has become a weekly occurrence for the children of Goodstart Rosebud Eastbourne Road
as they head out on their beach kinder excursions.
Rain, hail or shine, the children visit the area by bus in an effort to give them an understanding of how important it is to care for the natural environment.
Educational leader Sarah Ivey said the centre children and staff visited the Rosebud foreshore, talking about the environment, the creatures that live in the area and collecting rubbish.
She said the benefits of the program for children were endless.
“The biggest benefit is that we wanted to ensure our children were getting out in amongst the elements as much as possible when in our care setting. We believe that learning is not confined to the classroom but in the wider environment and community,” Ms Ivey said.
“Giving children access to a variety of rich and meaningful learning opportunities in different settings broadens their imagination, their cognitive skills, their resilience and how well they can adapt to new environments.
“And beach kinder supports their wellbeing, whilst giving our children first-hand information and tools to how they can take responsibility for the world in which they live. We have found children are more engaged during these sessions and are very involved in taking conversations back to the centre about their discoveries and what they have learnt.”
So far, the children have discovered cuttlefish, puffer fish and star fish while out on their excursions.
Also in Victoria, children from Goodstart Elwood
have extended on their bush kinder program by visiting the local foreshore, a half hour walk from their centre.
Centre director Natasha Fullerton said because many of the children were living in apartments, outdoor learning gave them the ideal opportunity to ensure they were getting plenty of fresh air and exercise.
“We wanted to offer the children the opportunity to explore nature and learn to take risks with no boundaries,” Ms Fullerton said. “The children spend time during their beach kinder walks collecting shells, sticks and sponges, exploring the native wildlife and splashing in the water.
“Last time we were there, we realized how much rubbish there was on the beach, so there have been a lot of conversations around pollution and we are about to incorporate the practice of cleaning up the beach while we’re there.”
Many Goodstart Early Learning centres take part in bush and beach kinder, with research showing plenty of outdoor play can help children have better self-regulation, higher creativity and problem-solving skills.