“Children can’t bounce off the walls if we take away the walls” – Erin K Kenny

Here are some interesting statistics for you:

Since the 1980s the average time spent outside has changed from an average of 4 – 6 hours per day to 45 – 90 minutes per day. Screen time is a big factor in reducing time that kids spend outside. The average Australian 5 year old has two hours of screen time a day, going up to 3 – 4 hours for 12 – 13 year olds. 60% of children’s screen time is TV, which is very passive.

Which leads us to Bush Kinder.

Bush Kindergarten (also known as bush kinder) has become a popular education system for young children either before or during their kindergarten years. The concept originated from the European Forest Preschools, which became popular in the 1950’s.

Traditionally, children start their education journey at kindergarten where they learn the essential skills for the future – emotional, social, physical skills, enquiring minds and investigate learning as well as numeracy and literacy skills all of which will assist them as they prepare for the mainstream education system. When a child is fully immersed in nature, without the obligations of curriculum that keeps them indoors in a bubble, in allows them to expand their horizons.

According to a study by Deakin University, “pre-school children who participate in ‘bush kinder’ programs could have better education outcomes than those who stay indoors. Research fellow Chris Speldewinde states “girls benefit the most form engaging in non-gendered outdoor play because it allows greater freedom to play creatively with unstructured natural materials.” You can read more here.

There are currently over 100 bush and beach kinder programs in Victoria. For more information on Bush Kinder program in Melbourne / Victorian programs, visit the Department of Education website here.

Anyone living in Melbourne, you can find more information on Bush Kinders in your area here.

Lastly, you may find this post on Leave No Trace Principles interesting as well. Click here.