Kids get out and about
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.