Gowrie Street Preschool starts Bush Kinder Program

By Madeleine Byron

Bush Kinder is becoming a welcome phrase at Gowrie Street Preschool with educators taking on the challenge to teach the youngsters about nature.

The Bush Kinder program reflects the mounting body of evidence that outdoor activities such as exploring natural environments are beneficial to children and contribute to improving children’s health and wellbeing.

Early childhood educator Amber Sanders said after she observed a Melbourne kinder program she immediately saw the benefits within the children.

‘‘We knew that for Gowrie Street Preschool to start up our own program we needed to be able to walk to the location with the children, because some of our families don’t have cars, and we didn’t want to worry about expenses, such as buses,’’ Ms Sanders said.

She said two of the staff sourced a perfect spot and now they were set up for their own Bush Kinder at Stuart Reserve.

‘‘We got our parents to sign permission forms, we fundraised so we could buy a tent and a portable toilet and away we went,’’ Ms Sanders said.

She said the program was all about open-ended free play and nature and the children could learn skills such as co-operation, problem solving and conflict resolution.

‘‘We’re hoping to do it every fortnight so all the children have access to it and to also raise more money to buy some wet-weather gear so we can continue through rain, hale or shine,’’ Ms Sanders said.

Gowrie Street Preschool is located at 1-19 Gowrie St, Shepparton. For more information, phone 58213100.