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Bush School turns learning into an adventure. Primary Physical Education Teacher Sarah Mornement, who leads the program at Duncraig ELC, describes the innovative Bush School program:

“The Bush School program is unique in that it offers opportunities for holistic growth through regular sessions. It is a long-term program that supports play, exploration, and supported risk-taking. It develops confidence and self-esteem through learner-inspired, hands-on experiences in a natural setting.”

This term, our Duncraig ELC students are immersing themselves in the wonders of nature, discovering new things about the world around them every day. Engaging with the natural environment not only enriches their understanding but also supports every aspect of their development鈥攑hysically, socially, and emotionally.

 

Pre-Primary Student learning about sun safety at Bush School

Emphasising Sun Safety

One of the most important lessons we teach at Bush School is sun safety. Pre-primary students are learning to ‘slip, slap, slop, seek shade, and slide on some sunnies’ to protect their skin and eyes from the harsh Australian sun. These practices encourage independent thinking and an awareness of how to look after themselves whilst outdoors.

 

Pre-Primary students investigating seeds at Bush SchoolInvestigating Seeds and Nature鈥檚 Wonders

Our students have been investigating seeds and how they disperse in nature, deepening their understanding and respect for the wonders of the natural world. Through hands-on exploration, they learn about the various methods plants use to spread their seeds, from wind and water to animals. This engaging activity not only enhances their knowledge of botany and ecology but also fosters a sense of curiosity and wonder. By observing and interacting with these natural processes, students develop a profound appreciation for the intricate and interconnected systems of our environment, highlighting the importance of biodiversity and conservation.

 

Year 1s building a shelter with sticks at Bush SchoolEngineering Skills and Teamwork

Our Year 1s are embracing the basic principles of engineering by constructing three-dimensional shelter frames using sticks. This hands-on activity requires teamwork and problem-solving skills to ensure their shelters stand upright. This activity leads on to the design and skill of simple large scale shelter building using minimal tools.

 

Building Shelters at Bush School Shelter Building Skills

This requires teamwork and problem-solving skills to ensure their shelters are sturdy and functional. By working together, they develop resourcefulness and collaboration, learning to rely on each other’s strengths. Additionally, they are gaining practical survival knowledge that enhances their confidence and resilience.

 

Grinding seeds at Bush SchoolTraditional Skills and Cultural Respect

Year 2 students are learning about traditional Noongar practices. During one activity, they grind seeds using rocks in the same way as Aboriginal people do on Country which not only teaches them about traditional methods but also fosters respect for the cultural heritage of Australia’s First Nations people.

 

Toasting Marshmallows at Bush SchoolRewards and Relaxation

It’s not all hard work at Bush School. After their efforts, the Pre-primary, Year 1 and Year 2 students are rewarded with the delightful experience of toasting marshmallows over a campfire. This fun activity not only provides a sweet treat but also reinforces the camaraderie and teamwork developed during their projects.

 

The Bush School Program is more than just an outdoor classroom; it’s a vibrant space where children learn, play, take supported risks and grow. Through engaging activities and a curriculum that emphasises environmental stewardship and cultural respect, our students are developing into well-rounded individuals with a deep connection to nature. By exploring the bush, they are not only enhancing their physical health, social skills, and cognitive abilities but also cultivating a lifelong appreciation for the environment. Bush School is offered in the Kindy to Year 2 curriculum at the Duncraig and Carramar campuses.