If you follow our social media posts, you know we’re passionate about getting our Little Scholars outside. Have you ever wondered why outdoor play is such a vital part of our early educational program?

Here are a few compelling reasons:

Embracing the sensory experience

Imagine the fresh air brushing against your face, the satisfying crunch of leaves under your feet, or the soothing sound of a nearby burbling stream. Picture the invigorating scent of freshly cut grass or the refreshing breeze of the salty sea air. Envision the tactile sensation of rough bark or smooth stones. And finally, visualise the breathtaking beauty of greenery, rivers, streams, and oceans.

In essence, being outdoors offers the ultimate sensory experience that simply cannot be replicated in a studio.

Reviving the spirit of unrestricted play

Many of us cherish childhood memories filled with boundless hours spent exploring the great outdoors. However, as life has grown busier for families, children today are spending less time engaging in unrestricted play outside. A recent study by Royal Children’s Hospital national child health poll found that 45% of Australian children play outdoors most days, and 80% of parents would like their children to spend more time outdoors. At Little Scholars, we want children to rediscover the joy of unstructured play in nature.

One study found that children who engage in just one third more outdoor activities than their peers grow up to be happier adults

Outdoor learning should be an integral part of children’s everyday lives, providing fun and enjoyment while also serving as a stimulus and extension of their indoor learning. If your child attends Little Scholars, outdoor play is a key component of their daily experience on our campus.

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A focus on the natural environment

At Little Scholars, our educational programming places a strong emphasis on the natural environment. We have developed the Little Scholars’ Bush Kinder program, an innovative outdoor education experience for children of all ages, fostering exploration, discovery, and learning in nature.

During our Bush Kinder adventures, children engage in a range of activities, including nature walks, wildlife watching, building shelters, and learning about indigenous culture. They climb, scramble, jump, and fully immerse themselves in nature’s playground.

The role of specially-trained outdoor teachers

Our outdoor teachers are highly experienced and qualified in outdoor education and child development. They understand the significance of outdoor and nature play in fostering children’s development and well-being. By cultivating a love for nature and the environment, as well as a connection to all living things, they help fulfill children’s basic needs for freedom, adventure, experimentation, risk-taking, and simply being children.

Safety and support

At Little Scholars, the safety and security of our children are of utmost importance. Our Bush Kinder program is conducted in a safe and secure outdoor environment, with strict protocols in place to ensure the well-being of all participants. Our educators are passionate about providing children with meaningful learning experiences in a safe and supportive setting. Extensive risk assessments are conducted prior to excursions, but children are also advised and included in risk assessing while on their adventures so they can begin to think about safe risk taking while enjoying being outside. Our Bush Kinder program is designed to be fun, engaging, and educational, and there are plenty of benefits for children while they’re out on their adventures.

Children have the opportunity to explore and discover the wonders of the natural environment, learning about plants, animals, and ecosystems firsthand.

Through hands-on experiences, children develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They learn to navigate challenges and find creative solutions.

Outdoor play provides ample opportunities for children to interact with their peers, fostering the development of social skills and the formation of new friendships.

Engaging in outdoor activities helps children develop their physical skills, such as coordination, balance, and strength.

During bush kinder, we engage in Dadirri, an Aboriginal word meaning ‘inner deep listening and quiet still awareness and waiting’. So while out enjoying nature, the children and educators sit with a bit of space from each other and pay close attention to what they can hear, see, smell and feel. Bush kinder also provides an opportunity to learn, acknowledge, and celebrate the history and traditions of the people who were the traditional owners of the land they love to spend time exploring.

Finally, spending time in nature cultivates a sense of wonder and deepens children’s appreciation for the natural world around them.

Theorists and history of outdoor learning programs

While we take pride in our learning programs that prioritise outdoor play, it’s important to acknowledge the foundations upon which these programs were built. Our teams have conducted extensive research and drawn from the following theories:

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Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852): Froebel’s approach emphasises holistic development and creativity in early childhood education. He recognised the importance of outdoor learning, nature walks, and gardening.

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Jean Piaget (1896-1980): Piaget’s theory of cognitive development highlights the role of play in intelligence development. He believed that children’s play and environment should encourage cognitive and language growth.

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Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934): Vygotsky emphasised the importance of children’s interaction with the environment and their peers. He believed that learning is enhanced through social interaction and scaffolding from a more knowledgeable other person.

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Margaret McMillan (1860-1931): McMillan, along with her sister Rachel, played a pivotal role in nursery education. They advocated for open-air nurseries and opened Britain’s first open-air nursery, and unlimited outdoor play, recognising the benefits of hands-on experience and active learning.

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Susan Sutherland Isaacs (1885-1948): Isaacs, an educational psychologist, believed in the central role of play in a child’s education. She emphasised the importance of outdoor exploration and community engagement to support children’s emotional and cognitive needs.

Our Campus Outdoor Environment

While our Bush Kinder program is a significant aspect of Little Scholars, outdoor play doesn’t always require leaving the campus. Our yards are purposefully designed as extensions of our studios, providing space for learning, relaxation, and play. From play forts to bike tracks, gardens to sensory paths, and water play areas, our outdoor environments offer open and less structured spaces for children to explore, overcome challenges, and grow.

By encouraging children to spend time outdoors, whether through Bush Kinder or within our incredible yards, we aim to provide them with a well-rounded early education. Outdoor play nurtures essential skills such as resilience, teamwork, creativity, mindfulness, and risk assessment in a safe and supervised environment.

Now that you understand why outdoor play is such an integral part of the Little Scholars experience, it’s time to discover how nature play can bring out the best in your child. Find out more by booking a tour and witnessing our commitment to fostering children’s growth and development firsthand.

Now more than ever, it is of the upmost importance that we foster sustainability for children. The banning of plastic bags from supermarkets, the cultural shift towards upcycling and repurposing and our renewed focus on the environment means that our children are well on their way to becoming the eco-warriors of the next generation.

Little Scholars places a lot of importance on the need to create a sustainable world. It is at the very core of our curriculum – particularly our Small Green Steps Program. We recycle our resources, conserve our water and practice energy efficiency. Our cleaning products are made from natural ingredients and come straight from organic sources. The gorgeous campuses made of sustainable material blend effortlessly with our breath-taking natural surrounds and we ensure there is a little of the environment within everything we do.

Sustainability for children at home and school

These are lessons that you can take home with you as well. Sustainability in early learning can very easily become sustainability in the home. Here are some ideas for embracing these concepts on your own property.

Sustainable activities for your toddler at home

Monkey see, monkey do

Allow your toddler to take part in the recycling activities that you do as part of your time with them. When it is time for the weekend shop, ask them to collect your green bags and put them in the boot of the car. During shopping, talk them through your choices and try to stay away from the over-use of plastic wrapping.

Get down and dirty

Not really a green thumb? That doesn’t matter. What does matter is allowing your child to become involved in planting and gardening. Little Scholars has woven gardening into the curriculum. Continuing the message at home is an ideal introduction to sustainability for little ones. Vegetables on an apartment balcony, flowers in a window sill – doesn’t matter. Choose the plant, tend to the plant, watch it grow. You might just be planting the seed of sustainability that could last a lifetime.

Let’s make it work

Put a stop to ‘throw away’ culture in your house. Ask your child to collect any old or unwanted toys and take them to the Op Shop together. Take a drab old bookshelf and paint it crazy colours to give it a new life. Turn ripped and torn old shirts into cleaning cloths, dress up clothes or crazy headbands.

At Little Scholars, we believe that sustainability in childcare is an important stepping stone towards creating environmentally aware citizens of the future. Find out how our program incorporates sustainability for children and much, much more.

Come and see the Little Scholars difference

Let us hold your hand and help looking for a child care centre. Leave your details with us and we’ll be in contact to arrange a time for a ‘Campus Tour’ and we will answer any questions you might have!

Come and see the Little Scholars difference

Let us hold your hand and help looking for a child care centre. Leave your details with us and we’ll be in contact to arrange a time for a ‘Campus Tour’ and we will answer any questions you might have!