Imaginations run wild in the bush

“I’ve found a cockatoo, now I’m looking for a seed pod!”, declares an enthusiastic Bush Kinder child as he purposefully clambers over fallen trees.

Mansfield’s own forest-school inspired kindergarten, Bush Kinder, offered by The Farmhouse, is at the forefront of the Australian nature-based movement in early childhood settings.

Research studies repeatedly prove the benefits children gain when they spend a significant amount of their educational program in the natural environment. The analysis reveals that children in nature-based education enjoy increased confidence, motivation and concentration, increased social, physical and language skills, deeper conceptual understandings and respect for the natural environment.

“The children are just so calm out here”, observes Rachel Devere, Bush Kinder Teacher. “Their imaginations are so inspired, and they’re completely absorbed in creative play”.

Kim Stoney, Founder and Director of The Farmhouse reflected, “Unstructured play is being lost in our digital-world, so these opportunities are precious. Play allows children to explore and be curious, while this raw, natural setting allows their imaginations freedom to roam and expands their thinking”.

Last week these plucky and resilient four-year olds took a bush walk around Loyola Bushland Reserve and later did a nature hunt for everything from leaves to birds to bugs.

Kim went on to explain, “Developing a strong sense of self-confidence and purpose is essential to children’s social development as well as endurance in the upcoming school environment. Exposure to outdoor unstructured play in nature contributes to increasing children’s self-esteem and self-worth”.