Kids get out and about

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS -

New re­search has re­vealed just one in 10 Aus­tralian chil­dren play out­side once a week or less.

The land­scape of child­hood has changed in the past 20 years and out­door ac­tiv­ity has less­ened be­cause there are other things for chil­dren to do. But that is chang­ing. ‘‘Bush, for­est and beach kinder­gartens are now pop­ping up all over Aus­tralia, New Zealand and the UK as a re­sult of re­search into chil­dren’s seden­tary lives and chil­dren be­com­ing at risk of de­vel­op­ing a ‘na­ture deficit’,’’ Punt Rd Kinder­garten teacher Luelle Keamy said.

She said the kinder­garten had taken proac­tive steps to en­cour­age its chil­dren to em­brace the out­doors.

‘‘Ev­ery Wed­nes­day morn­ing we pro­vide the chil­dren op­por­tu­ni­ties to con­nect with na­ture, learn about the en­vi­ron­ment and the hu­man im­pacts on it.

‘‘And through this, the chil­dren can con­nect with and re­spect the land in a way that can not be done un­der a roof or within walls.’’

To ex­tend on the kin­der’s work, two weeks ago Parks Vic­to­ria’s Hilda Ste­wart and Greta Mor­gan went on an ad­ven­ture with the chil­dren to Quinn Island.

The aim was to help chil­dren and staff deepen their un­der­stand­ing of the his­tory of the Yorta Yorta peo­ple and to recog­nise and in­cor­po­rate indige­nous per­spec­tives into the pro­gram.

‘‘This is an im­por­tant part of our na­ture pro­gram as ed­u­ca­tion for sus­tain­abil­ity can not be dealt with in ab­strac­tion. It needs to be em­bed­ded in the lo­cal con­text to have real mean­ing and im­pact,’’ Ms Keamy said.

The chil­dren were in­volved in the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of bush tucker and how to care for and pro­tect it, how to pro­tect the an­i­mals which live at the Na­ture Kin­der site, iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the foods the an­i­mals eat and the im­por­tance of not leav­ing any food be­hind.

‘‘Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion prac­tices such as this with a fo­cus on re­la­tion­ships and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties be­tween groups of peo­ple and our en­vi­ron­ment pro­motes a sus­tain­able fu­ture for our next gen­er­a­tion,’’ Ms Keamy said.

‘‘Punt Rd Kinder­garten is com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing ed­u­ca­tion for sus­tain­abil­ity by in­cor­po­rat­ing indige­nous per­spec­tives into the cur­ricu­lum through mean­ing­ful op­por­tu­ni­ties to en­gage and be im­mersed in our lo­cal bush­lands.’’

Guests: Hilda Ste­wart and Greta Mor­gan from Parks Vic­to­ria vis­ited the Na­ture Kin­der pro­gram last Wed­nes­day.

Keep­ing with the theme: The chil­dren found the per­fect spot to sit for their les­son.

Won­drous na­ture: Hilda Ste­wart had the Punt Rd Kinder­garten chil­dren in the palm of her hand.

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