Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Bush Kinder in Lunch Lady

"So, what happens at a kindergarten that proudly proclaims to have “no toys, no tools, no art supplies”?  How do children respond to being outside with no equipment whatsoever, apart from a portable loo?"
Liz Evans interviews me for Lunch Lady. 
Lunch Lady is a beautifully produced publication about food + life + parenting + partners

Monday, 30 September 2019

What is a Bush Kinder?

What is Bush Kinder?  Why is it called Bush Kinder?

Bush Kinder is a term that was coined at Westgarth Kindergarten, Victoria Australia.
I was clear that we where not a forest school, nature kindergarten or any other established program. A new name gave us freedom to do and be what we wanted.
We were building our own unique program for our children, The intention was that our model would have the strength to stand up to academic, pedagogical and regulatory scrutiny. The hope was that our work would inspire and inform others. 
A lot of thought went into the title Bush Kinder.  
It was clearly Australian yet paid homage to international programs. The name clearly drew upon the Northern European label’s - Forest School, Forest Kindergarten titles in common usage at the time. It gave people something they could relate to.
An Australian title meant we could look at ‘us’- our Westgarth us,our NQS us, our Aboriginal us, and all of our uniqueness.
Bush was chosen for many reasons. Bush represented a physical place – a natural space. More significantly it represented a spiritual, cultural and emotional space. Similarly phrases like - “going bush” “bush ballad” “bush tucker” and “what do you think it is, bush week?”  each use bush in a way that goes beyond a place. 
Kinder was chosen for a few reasons. Froebel, the inventor of kindergarten, promoted nature as the model of perfection in the education of children. ‘Kinder’ was the local vernacular and it seemed fitting to use the word. ‘Kinder’ is the German word for child. ‘Kinder’ as an adjective has a meaning of showing friendly and good nature [evidence informed us that this was the case when children spent time in nature]. 
When the words were together as Bush Kinder they represented further things. They demonstrated a view that these children would be ‘kinder to the bush’ a view of environmental sustainability again supported by evidence.
The growth of what has become a bush kinder movement has lead to terms that pay homage to bush kinder: bush playgroup, bush kindergarten, bush kindy, bush school.
Doug Fargher

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Book Launch 'Beyond the Gate'

Get ready for a wonderful book. 
Claire Warden and I have taken years to put together a showcase of some of the most significant work in education.
Each chapter is authored by leaders in their field.
Published by Pademelon Press
Being launched at the end of March with Claire at the IANP Symposium in Victoria and me the Childhood Summit in QLD. Click the images to be taken to the events.

Place based nature kindergarten in Victoria, Australia

Place based nature kindergarten in Victoria, Australia  published in the Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education is now able to be freely viewed by using this link https://rdcu.be/boLR6 or clicking the image

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Bush Kinder - taking a step further

“If we’re really going to engage with sustainability, then we need to do things with a focus on critical pedagogies,” Sue Elliott maintained. “It’s very easy to do the lovely sensory things about ‘how does the tree feel?’, and hug the tree, and to investigate different animals that you might find from a science perspective, but we need to take it a step further.” 

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Bathurst Bush Kinder

Rain or shine, keen children from Goodstart Early Learning Bathurst leave behind toys, books and buildings for their Bush Kindy session in Mount Panorama-Wahluu’s bushland. The program is enhanced by strong Aboriginal educatorsand a positive relationship with Bathurst Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC).