Bush kindy a community event
When the children from Goodstart Mildura Matthew Flinders Drive head out on their bush kinder excursions, they are not alone.
Every month about 20 kindergarten children are joined by their friends and families from the local Aboriginal community, who share their wealth of knowledge about the surrounding bushes, holes, footprints, climbing rocks and trees.
The Bush Kinder program, which has been running for the past few months, is part of a movement that is becoming more and more popular in Australian kindergartens.
For the team at Mildura, it’s part of a plan to extend home learning and build connections within the local community.
Centre director Rhianna May said living in the great outdoors was a way of life for the families living Mildura, and that exploring the local area was a positive learning extension.
“This a lovely quite places to live close to nature and our children, families and community celebrates their way of life around nature, including the Murray River and Apex Park,” Ms May said.
“Community is very important to us and through visits to the centre and participation in events and activities throughout the year we are able to enrich our learning environment.”
She said the children were accompanied by their parents and educators as they study bush tucker, the native birds, insects and enjoy climbing and mud play.
“The children are busy with sticks, following the path, looking at footprints, listening to birds and finding kangaroos. After every visit, the children count how many days for next visit.”
Goodstart Early Learning research shows plenty of outdoor play can help children have better self-regulation, higher creativity and problem-solving skills.