Where is it?
133 Kensington Drive, Flinders View
Early Childhood Bush and Beach Kindy and Nature Programs
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Established in 2003, Winston Glades Early Education Centre is a second home to many children between the ages of six weeks and school age.
Our service is based in the Ipswich region on Jagera Land and backs on to a large area of bushland, visible from three of our six rooms and our entire big yard play space. At Winston Glades EEC, we pride ourselves in having a learning environment inclusive of furniture made from recycled materials, embedding sustainable practices into everyday routine and creating experiences for children where they are visually learning as equally as they are mentally learning.
We recognise that children have a hundred ways of thinking, playing, exploring, speaking and doing. The Reggio Emilia approach encourages children to use all ways of thinking and exploring to extend themselves. We believe in the importance of children’s interactions with the natural environment as we feel this supports each child’s individual creativity, cognitive ability, physical activity, and many other aspects of their development and personality. This is supported by Frances Ming Kuo, who states “Green environments are an essential component of a healthy human habitat.”
In Early 2019, we made significant changes to our carbon footprint by converting to a plastic bag free service, encouraging the use of wet bags. Our Nursery and Toddlers play space has been newly renovated from natural wooden materials incorporating climbing pieces, providing an area that promotes age appropriate risk taking. The play space is complete with a worm farm, fruit and vegetable garden and insect peep holes.
Continuing through 2019, the children were introduced to Forest Learning and a Bush Kindy program that ran every three weeks eventually progressing to once every week. The children became very involved with the program physically, mentally and emotionally, referring to the Bush Kindy program as their ‘outdoor classroom’. Through nature play the children are exposed to problem solving, self-exploration, decision making, number relationships, structures, healthy living, cause and effect, creativity, imaginative thinking and our natural world. We teach the children all about the world around us and connecting with nature. Children are given the chance to explore and learn new things: climbing, running and inadvertently expanding upon their gross motor skills. Exploring the plants, trees, rocks and water creates spontaneous conversation, interactions and valuable risk-taking opportunities. We offer the children unstructured play initiated by the children themselves, to inspire problem solving and promote self-confidence.
Since commencing the program, we have witnessed firsthand the many positive benefits that Bush Kindy provides to the children. The educators encourage their inquisitive instincts and questions. There are many known physical and social benefits to exploring nature and evidence shows that exposure to nature can reduce stress and increase academic performance. This is especially important in the technology driven world we live in where screen time is ever increasing for adults and children alike.
Through 2020, Bush Kindy will be implemented and explored throughout all age groups beginning in Nursery through to the Kindergarten room. Our Educators are passionate about encouraging the exploration of our natural surroundings in our ‘classroom with no walls’.