Australia is slowly catching on to the concept of outdoor learning. Some early learning services have started small, by offering rest time outdoors. Locating a shady place for the children to enjoy some quiet time amongst bird song and serenity. Others are offering full bush schools or forest kindy programs.
The concept of a bush school (Australia’s equivalent of the forest schools in other countries) is still fairly new here in Australia, but it’s definitely gaining traction. Educators have seen the benefits. Calmer, happier, less anxious children. Children who are self-reliant and thrive when the pressure of a scheduled curriculum is removed and child-led learning is encouraged. Where a child’s natural curiosity leads to exploration, questions and a passion for knowledge. According to Educators and parents alike, children are excelling well beyond the planned curriculum - retaining vocabulary and concepts beyond their years and making social advancements that are astounding their families.
Children are capable, resourceful beings that will often surprise us. Wildlings Forest school (based out of Queensland) offers the below learning opportunities as part of their forest kindy curriculum:
How to start, manage and cook on fires
How to use hand tools such as hammers, bow saws, hand drills and whittling knives
How to tie knots and lashings to build cubbies and shelters
Flora and fauna identification
Making primitive weapons from local weed species
Seasons and weather patterns
Environment and water conservation
Building and floating rafts