Early learning outdoors

Parks have a special place in supporting early connections with nature through free, unstructured play outdoors.

The great outdoors offers ideal spaces to climb, run and explore, allowing children to develop self-awareness, motor skills and emotional intelligence. Together, Parks Victoria and early childhood learning providers can create life-long connections between children, nature and parks. Download our Bush Kinder Handbook (PDF) to find out how to take your early learning outdoors.

How to start a Bush Kindergarten

Finding a suitable outdoor learning space

Parks Victoria has an extensive network of parks and reserves. To find a park, search for a park by name.

Different parks are managed for different purposes, so it’s important to find a park that suits your needs. The best suited parks for bush kindergartens are metropolitan parks, regional parks and visitor sites within national and state parks. Wilderness parks and nature conservation reserves are primarily reserved for the protection of significant plants and animals and in some cases may not be suitable for regular use.

As an educator, you understand your group’s needs best. Rangers understand their park best, and together a suitable site within your local park can be found. Initial scoping and induction sessions will help find a site that is safe and accessible, while also ensuring minimal impact to the natural place you’ve come to enjoy.

Key points to consider when identifying a site include:

  • Natural boundaries
  • Tree and water risk
  • Visitor numbers
  • Regular access
  • Emergency access
  • Mobile reception

How do I contact the ranger?

The easiest way to start a conversation about a new bush kindergarten on Parks Victoria's estate is to email education@parks.vic.gov.au. Your request will be directed to the local park office who will contact you to discuss opportunities.

Further resources

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