The educators at Dernancourt Kindergarten are passionate about nature play. Spending time in nature and fostering children’s curiosity, wonder and awe is central to our philosophy. Our daily routine enables children to explore outside for long periods of unstructured play. Children are washable, clothes can be washed but nothing can wash away the learning and the fun memories made while playing and getting dirty!
"Research shows that appropriate risk and time in nature are keys to encouraging resilience, emotional and physical health, and creative thinking in children" Bienenstock
After attending a Nature Play SA conference, the educators at Dernancourt Kindergarten realised we were missing the element of fire in our outdoor learning environment. So we put the call out to our community, and one of our families lent us their fire drum to use.
We are so lucky at Dernancourt Kindergarten to have a reserve next door, which the children have named 'our forest'. Over the years, we have been exploring this natural space. Recently, we have been collaborating with the Tea Tree Gully Council to further enhance our forest:
- Delivering fallen logs for children to climb on and play
- Installing a bee hotel to attract native, stingless bees
- Planting native plants that are indigenous to the local area
"Outdoor learning spaces are a feature of Australian learning environments. They offer a vast array of possibilities not available indoors. Play spaces in natural environments include plants, trees, edible gardens, sand, rocks, mud, water and other elements from nature. These spaces invite open-ended interactions, sponaneity, risk-taking, exploration, discovery and connection with nature. They foster an appreciation of the natural environment, develop environmental awareness and provide a platform for ongoing environmental education."
Being, Belonging, Becoming - The Early Years Learning Framework