Home schooling in the bush
Our Bush School program has been created for home school families looking to introduce nature play, outdoor skills, sustainability and environmental awareness into their learning activities. It is open to home-schooled children from Kindergarten to Year 6. Younger siblings and their carers are also welcome.
The Bush School program addresses outcomes primarily from the Living World and Earth and Space strands of the 2017 NSW Science and Technology K-6 Syllabus, and from the 2015 NSW Geography K-10 Syllabus. We occasionally include outcomes from other strands.
Bush School runs every Monday afternoon, 2pm-3.30pm, during term time.
Bookings are now open for Term 1 2020.
Child-led independent play in the natural environment is a key part of Bush School.
We recognise the importance of nature play in promoting creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, self-awareness, risk management, relationship skills and loads of other developmental as well as academic benefits.
As well as nature play, Bush School features an engaging program of nature-based activities linked to the NSW Syllabus. From storytelling or fauna encounters, through to adventures into the bush for bug hunting, exploring the creek, climbing trees or orienteering, each week offers new opportunities for kids with different learning styles to connect with nature and the outdoors.
Our rangers are experienced with children diagnosed with ADHD, ASD, anxiety and others who derive particular benefit from the Bush School program.
Bookings are essential for Bush School.
The fee is $14 per child each week.
Children 5 and under must be accompanied by a booked carer (at no charge). Full term bookings receive a free week.
Click here to book Bush School for Term 1 2020
To check availability for a casual session, please call 9424 0353.
Program for Term 1
Further details of the program for each week (including syllabus outcomes) are available from the ranger, or from the office on 9424 0353 or email@example.com.
Making Nature Connections
- Welcome, getting to know each other.
- Nature mindfulness – bushwalk and free play in nature.
- The Art of Noticing – using senses to experience nature.
Biology in the Field
- Aquatic habitat assessment using macroinvertebrate surveys (biotic testing).
Sustainable Gardening and Recycling
- Organic gardening techniques – composting, worm farming, manures and mulching.
- Using kitchen waste in the garden.
- Planting autumn crop plants.
Places on Maps
- Representing locations using map symbology and natural items.
- Making a map of our journey using aboriginal symbology.
- Looking at maps of Australia and the World.
Clean Up Australia
- Impacts of rubbish on wildlife including marine life; sources of rubbish, worst kinds of rubbish, how can we stop rubbish?
- Picking up rubbish from the bush – caring for our environment.
- Recycling, upcycling.
World Wildlife Day
- Meeting lots of kinds of native animals.
- Feeding and handling our captive fauna.
- Identifying different kinds of animals using observable features.
Bush Camping Skills
- Ropes and knots.
- Building hammocks, tents and camp chairs.
World Water Day
- The water cycle, importance of water to living things.
- Humans’ use of water as a resource, need for conservation.
- Water games and play if it’s hot!
Diurnal and Nocturnal
- Day-night cycles across the day and adaptations of animals to help them live during the night and the day.
- Seasonal weather patterns – temperature, rainfall, daylength.
- Effects of daily and seasonal weather patterns on our activities.
Celebration of Autumn
- Dreaming stories of Marrai’gang in the D’harawal Calendar.
- Identifying and gathering bush food and remedy plants.
- Sharing an autumn feast together.
Nature Play Space
The regular venue for Bush School is our Nature Play Space, an enclosed area of natural bush that provides opportunities for independent play in a safe environment.
In addition to the natural features such as rocky outcrops, ponds, trees and open grass, our rangers bring plenty of natural items to enable creative play. We encourage both active, gross-motor adventures (such as building cubby houses, indulging in the mud pit, or attempting our Balancing Bushwalk) and quiet, creative activities (such as making fairy gardens, painting with clay or ochre, or observing pond creatures with a magnifying glass).
Adventure and exploration
Each term’s program of activities also features opportunities to head deep into the bush and take time to explore, connect and have adventures in special places known only to our rangers!
Bush School runs weekly during term time for primary-aged participants and their parents or carers. Younger siblings are welcome. Participants aged five and under or with special needs will require an adult to stay with them for the program (this could be someone else's parent with agreement). Families with children who are not booked into an activity (aside from small babies) are welcome to use our picnic areas during the session, but are not permitted in the Nature Play Space as it is not a public area.
Please ensure all participants (including accompanying adults) are appropriately dressed for rugged outdoor play: closed shoes for bushwalking, hats and sunscreen if it’s hot, and raincoats and gumboots if it’s wet. The program will continue in most weather conditions. A change of clothes is recommended for younger children. Bushwalks are generally not stroller-friendly.
Participants can bring their own nut-free snacks and a water bottle in a child-sized backpack. We encourage sustainable snacking – food in packets or plastic also creates litter which is a hazard for our wildlife. Please make our rangers aware of any first aid or medical requirements such as allergies or a need for an inhaler or autoinjector.
Wildflower Garden rangers generally adapt their programs to suit the environmental conditions and the characteristics of the group. We cannot guarantee that certain activities will definitely take place on any given day.
If outdoor conditions are deemed unsafe by the rangers, for example in cases of catastrophic fire danger or high winds, Bush School will need to be cancelled or postponed. A full refund will be given if the Wildflower Garden cancels the program.
For more information, please contact the office on 9424 0353 or firstname.lastname@example.org.