Kinder children go bush to learn about nature

Archer rubs a gum leaf to release the eucalyptus smell.  
 Picture: PETER PICKERING

Archer rubs a gum leaf to release the eucalyptus smell. Picture: PETER PICKERING

CAREY Street Kindergarten has been developing a 'Bush Kinder' program which is now up and running and gives its children the opportunity to learn and explore in a bush environment.

Kindergarten director Kara Bartlett said the Australian bush provides a unique learning environment and once a fortnight the children spend three uninterrupted hours of quality play and exploration time using what nature has provided as learning materials.

"We forage for insects, bugs and beetles, build cubbies, climb trees and most of all have lots of fun," she said.

"Bush Kinder is based on the European model of forest schools, where the learning takes place almost exclusively in an outdoor setting come rain, hail or shine.

"Bush Kinder is becoming more apparent in Australia as we are recognising the importance of learning in the outdoors and also trying to counter balance the research showing that Australian children are spending more and more of their time indoors involved in sedentary activities."

Carey Street Kinder welcomed a special guest to its bush session recently, with Bill Speedy from Brambuk sharing with the children Aboriginal dreamtime stories and Australian folklore.

Ms Bartlett said the children really enjoyed having Mr Speedy share his knowledge of the bush and the connections of the Aboriginal people.

"Bill led us on a bush walk where he showed the children how to track a kangaroo, dingo and emu," she said.

"He showed us how to find witchetty grubs in the trees and other bush tucker. Bill played the didgeridoo and then each of the children were able to have a try as well.

"He also taught us about some of the natural medicines of the bush and finished by showing us how to make a campfire with a stick and a piece of bark."

Carey Street Kindergarten run bush kinder sessions once a fortnight on a Tuesday. If anyone has any further questions please contact Kara Bartlett on 5352 7738.

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