Kids love the outdoors - it helps them learn, to build a sense of belonging and to grow into healthy and happy young adults. With their wild imaginations and curious minds, a natural space becomes a new world to explore, run, climb and play in.
Spending regular time in nature through a Bush Kinder program helps children to fall in love with, care for and create life-long connections with their local landscapes.
How to start a Bush Kindergarten
Parks Victoria manages an extensive network of parks, reserves and waterways. These protected places serve a range of purposes, from protecting the natural and cultural environment to providing recreational opportunities, so it’s important to find a park that suits your needs but respects our special places.
The spaces most suited for regular outdoor learning 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 visitation.
Rangers know their patch inside out, so undertaking an initial scoping and induction session is the best way to identify a safe and accessible site that meets both of your needs. Call 13 1963 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for recommendations on suitable locations from a ranger in your area. You can also use our Bush Kinder Handbook (found in the resources list below) to help you design your program so that you tread lightly during your time outdoors and know who to contact for more information.
Registering your Bush Kindergarten online
ParkConnect is Parks Victoria’s online database for emergency management and visitor communication. You can let us know you’ll be visiting with your kinder by registering your visit schedule through the Bush Kinder Activity Plan on ParkConnect.
Registering at least one month in advance helps us to better understand your planned visit(s) and keep you safe by organising a coordinated emergency management response with local ranger teams and government departments if required. User guides are available on the ParkConnect Education page if you need help with setting up a ParkConnect teacher account or submitting your plan.
The following resources may help with planning or provide inspiration for your Bush Kinder program:
- Bush Kinder Handbook
- Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Network (ECOLN)
- The Department of Education and Training (Bush Kinder Page)