The Full Story
Upon entering our backyard, you notice in the fence there are clear perspex panels. What can you see through there?!
Can you spy the Water Dragon sunning themselves?
Do you see the birdlife in the water?
Has there been recent rainfall? Perhaps the creek is flowing fast!
Many of the children would then climb onto the fort structure and stand in the middle of the curved bridge, peering to gain a better look of what was below.
The perfect observation platform.
In the Beginning...
As educators, we reflected and wondered how could we connect the children with the creek more? We couldn't access it through the back gate. There had to be another way...then we found our Creek Kindy sites. Grass, shade, trees to climb, wildflowers and a little 'waterfall'. It was all our dreams come true.
With two staff attending Bush Kindy training, we were set!
It was important to manage risk taking, that Creek Kindy didn't sit outside of our everyday Kindy program, so we began with using ropes, carabiners and tools at Kindy.
We began talking about safety aspects and safety drills and continue this before we set off for our first trip. We also talk about what we might do and see. Creek Kindy and Kindy work in harmony, they are never seperate.
“Nature pedagogy is the practice of teaching and learning with and in nature. It encompasses the importance of culture, community and the sustainability of our natural world. It fosters children’s holistic development and wellbeing through play and hands on authentic and meaningful experiences. The approach fosters a sense of wonder, exploration and discovery through inquiry-based learning that is child led”. - Nature Play QLD
WHAT FAMILIES SAY:
Parent of H:
H loves dresses and princess shoes and sometimes forgets it’s ok to go outside to explore, maybe get a little messy and wet. I see such a difference in her when she attends Creek Kindy and the fun and excitement she has to share at the end of the day. It is a more challenging environment for her at first, but it’s clear how much her confidence grows and how much she learns in every visit.
Parent of A:
During my child's time at Wynnum Manly Community Kindergarten I have been increasingly delighted by the stories, adventures and total myths that have eventuated from her time at "Creek Kindy". The fondest memories of my own childhood are of those spent playing at the creek, for hours, without adults, and creating amazing memories. Due to this, the idea of "Bush" and "Creek" kindy is one I have sometimes been a bit pessimistic of. This pessimism in my defense stems from seeing so many examples online of fabricated outcomes focussed experiences with heavily scaffolded children in settings that, at best, resemble well maintained parks, and at worst, the Kindy room itself with some "natural resources" introduced to meet a buzz agenda, create a learning story and tick a box. This is not how Wynnum Manly Community Kindergarten does it.
The creek travelled to is a stunning pristine space with all the "chaos" that nature naturally offers children so they are placed in a position where their imagination is quite literally the limit of their experience. Furthermore, to my huge appreciation, this is also exactly the affordance in which the Kindy staff offer the space to the children. My child, who is often fairly tight lipped about her times away can never wait to regale with narratives and experiences that can only be created through genuine and intrinsic exploration and experiences. To give an example, over a 2 week period I heard deep and contemplative dialogue around the discovery of a dead bird. As morbid as this example seems, the dialogue came with aspects of deeper understanding, grieving, empathy, an appreciation for the life cycle, right down to an appreciation that the ants in the bird on the second week were benefiting from this perhaps sad occurrence. Experiences and emotional development like this cannot be fabricated but nature seems fully capable in some strange quantum way of holistically providing for such robust life experiences.
In short, thank you to the Wynnum Manly Community Kindergarten team for offering this amazing experience. The muddy shoes, the stories, the learning, as a father it is appreciated. When Friedrich Froebel aptly coined the term Kindergarten, otherwise translated to "Child's Garden" he was convinced that children learn first and foremost by playing. The environment in which children were provided to play in was a critical ingredient for the success of this idea. It is heartening to see that the Wynnum Manly Community Kindergarten have not forgotten this.
Parent of E:
"I made the decision to move my son to a dedicated kindy from a daycare facility as he never settled or seemed to enjoy it. It was the best decision I have ever made. Almost instantly we had a different child. Gone were the tears and we had a child who would chat about all the fun things he had done during the day and was excited to go the next day. One of his favourite times is when they leave the kindy to go exploring in the creek. He has been taught lessons on road and water safety, ecosystems of the creek and also physical co-ordination from climbing trees and other games.
Everyday the team at C&K Wynnum Manly wows me with their passion for early learning and they always create a day filled with fun, yet educational activities."