We recognise that connecting with nature is critical for our physical, mental, social and spiritual wellbeing. It has positive effects on our ability to concentrate, to learn, to solve problems, to relax and to be creative.
Our Nature Kindergarten Program celebrates the simple joy of being in and exploring in nature while supporting children's learning and development in the areas of the Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guidelines (QKLG).
Our holistic Nature Kindergarten Program occurs both on-site and through off-site excursions into
neighbouring park and bushland. Incorporating regular excursions into nature develops children's
nature-literacy, supporting them to become more confident and empathetic towards the natural world.
Our Nature Kindergarten Program also allows the children to connect to the Jagera land on which
we meet to learn and play. We explore this connection with the children over the year where we are
able to explore what ‘country’ means to us. We can begin to recognise the care and wisdom of the Jagera peoples and how this relates to our kindy and the land, environment, wildlife, plants and people.
We create our own acknowledgment to Country the children connect with.
Our Nature Kindergarten Program has been created on the principles of Forest School.
Our teachers and assistant educators are all qualified Level 3 Forest School Leaders.
Active learning environments promote hands-on learning experiences and allow children to interact with their environment, as well as with their peers and educators. Throughout our holistic program we support the use of real tools and real life tasks and facilitate the children’s involvement in assessing risk and safety.
Our nature kindergarten program supports our connection to the land on which we learn and play and to the Jagera people’s past, present and emerging. This connection also extends to our commitment to sustainable practices and conservation which organically occurs in our day-to-day interaction and with 'litterless' lunchboxes, worm farm and compost bin, Native bees, use of a hand towel for each child, recycled toilet tissue, and by reducing, reusing, repurposing and recycling. Through bushland excursions where we explore conservation and flora/fauna identification.
The indoor and outdoor environments are accessible to the children at all times- families are even asked to provide a raincoat for all weather.
Norman Park Community Kindergarten's child-led play-based curriculum is guided by the Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guidelines (QKLG) as a framework aligned with the Early Years Learning Framework. Both these government frameworks share an image of the child as 'rich in potential, strong, powerful, competent, and most of all connected to adults and other children'. They embrace the same vision that 'all children experience learning that is engaging and builds success for life'.
The QKLG provides specificity for children’s learning across the year before starting school, recognising that children bring with them diverse identities and backgrounds. It acknowledges parents/carers are children’s first teachers and values the vital role families play in children’s lives and their ongoing learning.
A child-led play-based curriculum is a context for learning that is based on evidence that children learn best from doing - when they are actively involved in their environment and build knowledge based on their experiences rather then through passively receiving information.
Children benefit from predictability in their daily life and routines and schedules are needed to keep things running smoothly.
At Norman Park Community Kindergarten, the routines and daily living and learning happen in the same sequence each day, but the amount of time for each routine is based on the children’s rhythms and interests.
Open, uninterrupted time is the foundation for rich childhood experiences and to allow the children to enter a state of ‘flow’ in their play. Large amounts of time are dedicated each day for children’s self-initiated play within an environment which is carefully planned and set up, the environment is viewed as the third teacher.
Opportunities exist throughout the day when children are invited to participate in activities initiated and led by a teacher or educator. These activities (stories, music and movement, sharing stories or experiences etc) fully involve the children through use of materials and active engagement with the teacher and each other. This may occur in a large group or is small groups.
Teacher-directed instruction when children have to sit, wait, and listen with no involvement is limited and only when needed/necessary.
Communication between kindy and families is considered essential in supporting each child’s growth and development. Norman Park Community Kindergarten believes it is important to establish and nurture an ongoing relationship of two-way communication between families and the kindy throughout the year. Our main form of communication will occur through the online platform, Storypark.
Storypark creates a secure online network for parents, extended family, educators and specialists. Our Norman Park Community Kindergarten private Storypark community allows us to document and support children’s learning and development and at the same time share this with families. Families can engage with their child’s learning journey and collaborate with teachers and educators to develop a strong partnership.