Bush Kinder

Thornbury Kindergarten Bush Kindergarten Program

Thornbury Kindergarten has successfully run a bush kinder session for 4 year olds since 2014 at the Darebin parklands. Due to the popularity in the program we will be increasing to two bush kinder groups in 2016.


At Thornbury Kindergarten we believe that children that benefit from spending time in nature.  Time to play, to pretend, and to take risks.

So much of childhood (and indeed adulthood) is spent in environments whose purposes are pre-determined.  We cook in a kitchen.  We work in an office.  Or for our children, we go to the park, where we go up the steps, and down the slide.

Play in nature is much more open-ended.  A fallen down tree could be a rocket, a horse, or just a fallen down tree that is fun to jump off.  It could be the home of some fascinating creatures which lead to a range of questions about the natural world.  The open-endedness of nature allows for more imagining, helping foster creativity.

Children will have the opportunity to play in the rain, jump in puddles, balance on logs and rocks, engage in dramatic play, discover insects and draw with sticks on the ground.

Each child’s developmental progression, advancing skills and interests will be noted by their teachers.  The teachers will use this knowledge to support children’s learning just as they do at home kinder.

We are indebted to Westgarth Kindergarten who have ‘blazed the trail’ by setting up the first Australian ‘Bush Kinder’ Program in Darebin Parklands.  Our program is built upon their model.


Two qualified kindergarten teachers and one educator will attend each Bush Kinder session.  This ensures that if, at any point, an adult needs to leave the bush kinder area (for example, to collect additional water), appropriate staff to child ratios are maintained.

Session overview

Prior to the commencement of each session, teachers will scan the bush space for safety and new potential areas of interest.

Parents will be required to sign in and sign out their children, just as they do at home kinder.  The children will then be free to engage in play within the boundaries of the Bush Kinder site until the session concludes.

Children should dress appropriately for the weather and bring a spare set of clothes.

Eligibility to enrol

Families who have a child enrolled in a 4 year old program at Thornbury Kindergarten for 2015 can contact Jackie at enrolments@thornburykinder.com to express their wish to either enrol or not enrol in the Bush Kinder Stream.

Further information

Thornbury Bush Kinder Handbook 2015

For further information about the Bush Kinder Program, please email bushkinder@thornburykinder.com.