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YMCA Victoria - Bush Kinder

Program Details
Overview A program run in a large contained area of natural bushland that is purposely set up for kindergarten children to visit and play freely.
Deliverers YMCA staff, kindergarten teachers, volunteer parent helpers
Training and Resources YMCA staff worked with kindergarten teachers to discuss program ethos and desired outcomes. Volunteer parent helpers received an introduction and safety briefing before each session.
Duration 5 x 5 hour visits (1 per fortnight)
Participant Details
Age 3 - 4 years
Description Children who attend a local kindergarten

“We’re seeing children use sticks and things as drawing instruments. Building huts, measuring sticks and learning about heavy and light, all those sorts of concepts. And collecting natural life articles and items, making patterns, children were loving doing that. They really were interested in the ants, birds, and wildlife. We did a project on ants and found out more about them.” (Kindergarten teacher)

Physical literacy outcomes

YMCA Victoria - Bush Kinder helped children develop across all four domains of physical literacy – physical, psychological, social and cognitive.

Key findings

The program was successful in developing key elements across all four domains of physical literacy in young children which will support them to continue to be active.
Allowing children the time and space for self-directed play provided the opportunity for children to explore risk. This resulted in building confidence and improving their independent judgment and thinking around physical activities.
The program built the confidence of teachers and volunteers around how to facilitate unstructured play in a natural outdoor setting.
YMCA staff provided parents with information on suitable family camping locations and built their confidence and enthusiasm for being more active in nature.

“Some of them were a little bit nervous about climbing trees to start off with. Obviously, they’ve never climbed a tree before or never had that opportunity. So they stay off the ground saying ‘I’m stuck! I’m stuck!’ As we went on, their confidence built.” (Kindergarten teacher)

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