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Published Tue 17 Jul 2018

With mounting bodies of  evidence  that outdoor activities such as exploring natural environments, are beneficial to children and contribute to improving children’s health and wellbeing, it’s no wonder Bush Kinder is becoming the classroom of the future!              

A classroom at Warralily Conservation Reserve Did you know that mud, sand, water, leaves and sticks can stimulate children’s immune systems making them sick less often?             

With mounting bodies of evidence that outdoor activities such as exploring natural environments, are beneficial to children and contribute to improving children’s health and wellbeing, it’s no wonder Bush Kinder is becoming the classroom of the future!                                                                                                                                                     
Bush Kinder Sessions, Warralily
Each week during Term 2 and 3, the Charlemont Conservation Reserve becomes a classroom for 4 and 5 year-old children from St Paul’s Lutheran Kindergarten .
Lynda, the leading educator at the Kindergarten said “As the future custodians of the environment they are learning to respect and nurture our natural spaces so that they may be enjoyed by generations to come.”
During these sessions children are encouraged to observe small creatures, insects and birds and focus on the cycles of life and seasons in nature. They focus on hands-on sensory exploration and educators teach the naming of the native plants and animals in the reserve to develop an overall appreciation for discovering and understanding the ‘great outdoors’.  Other fun activities include;
  • Story telling
  • Den building
  • Learn about the connections to the land
  • Woodland art and crafts
  • Bug Hunting
  • Getting muddy and having fun!
What are the benefits?
 “In this day and age where life seems to be a constant rush for families and stress levels in children are rising, bush kinder sessions provide an oasis where children can move through their world at leisure. This helps reduce their anxiety and stress and increase their sense of wonder and imagination” said Lynda.
Some other benefits of outdoor nature play include;
  • Increase confidence, motivation, concentration and resilience                                                                               
  • Promotes problem solving, and helps to develop their powers of observation and their assessment of risk
  • Refine additional motor skills: e.g. running, jumping, leaping, balancing, and scrambling
  • Encourage social, cooperative play and shared experience
 
Nature Time for Nurturing Development
Bush Kinder deepens children’s understanding of community, where they fit in and offers better opportunities for children to be present and authentically engaged in real life. Australian children on average spend 52 hours a week in front of a screen and only one third play outdoors as part of recreation. The bush kinder sessions at Warralily give children time for unstructured play without the aid of external toys or screens. They have the time to develop their imaginations and creativity. “The time to connect with nature and notice the little things, the children are happier, stronger and more connected with one another.” Lynda.
Groups like this Bush Kinder Group encourage a well - connected, cohesive community that is environmentally aware, children and parents are gaining a deeper conceptual understanding and respect for the natural environment.      
Lynda and her team are an inspiration to our community and their ethos is one we should all embrace.
We take nothing from the reserve but memories and we leave nothing but footprints.”
                                                   
If you would like more information on Bush Kinder at Warralily please contact ninabendon@newland.com.au

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