Connecting children with nature through “Bush Kinder”

Natimuk Kinder © Parks Victoria
Published: 10 June 2015
Last edited: 14 January 2022
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Summary

Bush kinder is a growing initiative by early education providers who recognise a decline in the amount of time children spend in nature. By moving the classroom into the bush on a regular schedule children are given the opportunity to play, learn and familiarise themselves with the natural world. National parks and reserves offer an ideal location for bush kinders with abundant opportunities to explore and learn in natural settings.

Classifications

Region
Oceania
Scale of implementation
Global
National
Ecosystem
Green spaces (parks, gardens, urban forests)
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Theme
Ecosystem services
Local actors
Outreach & communications
Traditional knowledge
Challenges
Loss of Biodiversity
Ecosystem loss
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness

Location

Victoria, Australia

Impacts

1. Multiple Bush Kinders currently operate on Parks Victoria managed land, delivering an additional 3-6 hours of nature play to each child’s routine. Research shows increased time spent in nature increases physical activity, improves concentration and helps develop imagination, social and motor skills. 2. Children who attend bush kinders develop a sense of ownership towards their local park, sometimes introducing their parents to the park for the first time. In some examples, kindergartens actively contribute to park management, collecting, propagating and planting indigenous species in consultation with land managers. 3. The skills and knowledge children learn before entering school form the foundation for lifelong learning. Connecting children with the outdoors at an early age helps develop an awareness of the natural world and the importance of conservation.

Contributed by

Roellen.Little@parks.vic.gov.au's picture

Roellen Little