An Outdoor Classroom
We feel privileged to have such wonderful grounds at our Kindy, with lots of lush green grass, a variety of trees, big rocks, and cool, shady areas. At our Kindy we value nature and work hard to maintain the natural feel of our playgrounds because we have an understanding that the natural world can provide a variety of sensorial and cognitive experiences for young children. We find that the children that we teach are calm and content when outdoors and this is because there is more space available to the children in our outside classroom and because sunshine, fresh air and physical activity all encourage good moods.
Empower their creativity
According to the theory of Loose Parts, play behaviour in the playground with loose rocks, logs and water is limitless and more imaginative. We have been collecting a variety of natural resources for the children’s creative play for many years now. We make these resources, such as planks, pebbles, pipes, crates, shells, and seed pods available to the children and observe as their imaginations spark their creativity. One of the many joys of being a teacher/ educator is to observe children being creative outdoors with open ended, uninterrupted play opportunities.
Caring for vegetable and bush tucker gardens
Over the years we have worked with the children at our Kindy along with our local community to develop vegetable and bush tucker gardens. These areas help to build the children’s understanding of nutrition and caring for our environment. It is very satisfying for them to see the produce that they have assisted in growing and use it in their baking activities. It is valuable learning about bush tucker and about the indigenous tribes of our local area. Through our program we learn about the Jaggera and Turrbal people whose traditional lands and hunting grounds, extended around the Brisbane River.
Native Stingless Bees
Indigenous Australians have been harvesting food from the bush for thousands of years, and sugar bag honey from native Australian bees is a popular form of bush tucker. We are lucky to have a few native beehives within our grounds, one is a natural hive in a log and two are box hives. The children can observe the bees coming in and out of the hives and learn that all life is important no matter how small. The children learn to be very gentle and not to disturb the hives and are challenged to look carefully on the stingless bee’s legs for the pollen they have collected into little balls. Each year we invite Dr Toby Smith, from Bee Aware Kids to speak to the children about the importance of bees and to demonstrate splitting and extracting honey from the hive.
Connections with Primary school
Our Kindy backs directly onto Kenmore State School and therefore we have great connections with the school. During our transition to school program we visit the library, eat at the tuck-shop, and visit their prep class rooms. At the bottom of the school grounds there is environmental area which has little pathways, fruit trees and vines. It is a large, quiet, shaded space surrounded by natural colours, textures and plants for the children to explore. Our annual Wildlings Forest School program is run in this area and these sessions build the children’s confidence in exploring tools; going on scavenger hunts; playing group games; abseiling down banks using ropes; and making simple bows and arrows.