Parks Week cel­e­brated

Mansfield Courier - - MANS­FIELD MAT­TERS -

IN­SPIR­ING chil­dren and their fam­i­lies to get out and con­nect with na­ture will be the fo­cus of Parks Vic­to­ria’s cel­e­bra­tions dur­ing Parks Week from March 3 to 9.

PV’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Bill Jack­son, said this is a great time of the year to en­joy all that Vic­to­ria’s parks have to of­fer in­clud­ing camp­ing, pic­nick­ing, bush­walk­ing or just ex­plor­ing your lo­cal park.

“Parks are a per­fect play­ground for chil­dren and their fam­i­lies to have fun in and con­nect with na­ture,” said Dr Jack­son.

“A grow­ing body of re­search world-wide sug­gests that get­ting into parks and con­nect­ing with na­ture is good for peo­ple’s men­tal, phys­i­cal and spir­i­tual well­be­ing.

“At a time when chil­dren are spend­ing more time in­doors with com­put­ers and other screens, and many are fac­ing health is­sues through lack of ex­er­cise, it’s even more im­por­tant to make the most of all the healthy ben­e­fits that our parks and na­ture pro­vide.”

Lo­cally, The Farm­house is tak­ing up to 36 chil­dren to Sheep­yard Flat this Thurs­day and Fri­day, as part of its Bush Kin­der pro­gram.

The chil­dren will walk the bri­dle track and note changes along the way that they will dis­cuss and rep­re­sent on their re­turn.

They do this once a term and be­come quite ef­fi­cient at not­ing the changes as they walk through the area.

On the way home in the bus they will dis­cuss what they have seen and then draw and paint it later to show the changes.

“There are some fan­tas­tic pro­grams and ac­tiv­i­ties avail­able and I en­cour­age ev­ery­one to get in­volved and make the most of Vic­to­ria’s beau­ti­ful parks and stun­ning nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ments,” Dr Jack­son said.

Parks Vic­to­ria is en­cour­ag­ing chil­dren to get out and en­joy what the parks have to of­fer, with its Ju­nior Ranger Pro­gram, for pri­mary-aged chil­dren and their fam­i­lies to ex­plore and have fun in Vic­to­ria’s parks and re­serves by en­joy­ing spe­cial ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing the school hol­i­days.

Its Bush Kin­der pro­gram of­fers preschool ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams held al­most ex­clu­sively out­doors.

Here, chil­dren are en­cour­aged to take the lead in play­ing, ex­plor­ing and learn­ing in a for­est or nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.

And Parks Week is an an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of the im­por­tant role that parks play in con­tribut­ing to healthy com­mu­ni­ties.

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