Take a moment to imagine the kindergarten world: letters, numbers, and stories, sharing blocks, puzzles, play, paint and play-dough. Imagination and creativity fills the air. As you talk with your child about their day and celebrate their best effort on the work they do, remember that kindergarten is a “child’s garden.” Many times the process is more important than the product, and learning is accomplished by doing, touching, and experiencing.
Kindergarten has many benefits and plays an important role in your child’s educational journey, these include:
- Social skills, like how to play with other children in a calm, sharing and rewarding way
- Self-awareness and respect for others
- Emotional skills, for example understanding their feelings and considering others
- Language, literacy and numeracy skills, such as reading stories and counting objects
- Participating in group activities, such as talking, drawing and making things together with other children their own age
- Making new friends
- being exposed to new ideas and concepts
You can find out more by visiting the Victorian Government Kindergarten Benefits webpage.
A Bush kindergarten is a type of preschool education for children held outdoors in the natural environment. In many forms of weather, children are encouraged to take the lead in playing, exploring and learning in a natural environment.
“Imagine a place where the carpet changes every day, the ceiling is a myriad of different colours, light, shadow and movement. The feelings and movement completely surround you, sometimes breezy, sometimes cold, others warm. Unexpected wonders fly by, sometimes full of colour and sometimes full of noise and movement. If we really want children to thrive we need to let their connection to nature nurture them.” Claire Warden Educational Consultant and primary advocate for nature play.
UYCH Bush Kinder program is based on our beliefs of:
- Children having uninterrupted time to play in natural environments with open-ended materials allows them to engage in a range of activities that foster their development and learning, encouraging them to become flexible thinkers, develop self-confidence and independence.
- Children develop strong connections with nature and sustainable practices, developing a deeper awareness of the impact the environment can have on them and future generations.
- Through play in a natural environment, children are able to learn through their own curiosity and willingness to explore their surroundings, becoming involved learners they develop a stronger sense of achievement when completing tasks and making new discoveries. This helps children to have a more positive sense of them, giving a stronger sense of identity and enhances their self-esteem.
- Physical skills are enhanced and developed in natural outdoor settings that provide multiple affordances through natural and open-ended materials. This allows for children to increase the coordinated functioning of the central nervous system, aiding in balance, control of body movements, dramatic gains in motor coordination as well as supporting connections between the cerebellum and cerebral cortex which supports thinking, memory, planning and language.
- Children are provided with opportunities to develop risk assessment skills through play in the natural environment. Through this play, children are able to engage in challenging experiences that acquire confidence, achievement as well as an awareness of limits and boundaries.
- The play is child initiated and is based on their thoughts and ideas. This form of play is used as a platform for intentional teaching by educators and allows for children interests in the natural world to be continually explored and built upon with the children being active participants in their learning and development.
- Through the bush kinder program, children are able to develop attitudes and dispositions about the natural world as well as each other. Social development is enhanced through children being provided with opportunities to explore their thoughts and ideas with their peers, developing relationships with others based on respect for individual identity.
The bush kindergarten program scaffolds the children’s understandings of our local history, Australian folklore and Indigenous culture. It enables the children to engage in outdoor spaces with plants, trees, rocks, mud and water to invite open ended interactions, spontaneity, risk taking and a connection with nature.
If you would like to know more about UYCH kindergarten programs click here.