Lobethal Primary School has a well-established and structured Bush School program for students in the Early Years.
We visit our local Bushland Park on a regular basis throughout Terms 2 and 3 and liaise with Adelaide Hills Council, Friends of Bushland Park, Natural Resource Management Education and Nature Play SA.
Bushland Park is a valuable resource that connects the children to their local community and develops strong ties to our local environment. In our busy lifestyles, Bush School provides the stability of child-led exploration free from adults’ constraints for part of their day. It provides authentic links to the heritage of our area, to Aboriginal perspectives and sustainable practices.
Bush School brings with it enormous benefits:
- It is a way for children to foster connections with themselves, with others and with their natural environment.
- It develops a natural connection to place and a love of being outside, resulting in sustainable thinking and is therapeutic to the emotional wellbeing of students.
- Learning to risk assess is another of the main benefits of Bush School, which research clearly shows to build resilience, stamina and a growth mindset.
- It helps to develop a sense of community, road safety, vocabulary, oral language, persistence and resilience
The links to the curriculum are wide and varied. In particular our focus lies in the Science, Geography, History and Health strands. Teachers have a particular focus for each visit based upon discussion with children and links to the curriculum.
Research supports the benefits of outdoor play. Studies have found the benefits to include:
- authentic learning and independent thinking
- strengthened social skills and relationships
- increased confidence
- physical development and wellbeing
- decreased anxiety and negative behaviours
- appreciation of the environment
- greater risk taking and self-assessment
- literacy and numeracy development
- gift of uninterrupted time
The Lobethal Primary School Early Years Team consistently observes all of these benefits both for our students and ourselves while at Bush School.
The Bush School experience provides many opportunities for this to happen.
Opportunities may include using real tools, sticks and loose parts, climbing trees, water safety and outdoor play in all weather. We value self-directed, free investigations balanced with intentional learning experiences connected to the Australian Curriculum.