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Bush kinders

Outdoor play is beneficial to children’s learning outcomes and contributes to improving children’s health and wellbeing.

Bush Kinder Grants Program

The Victorian Government is investing $3.6 million over 4 years to deliver bush kinder programs in 150 kindergartens each year. These $6,000 grants will support more kindergartens to set up nature programs, giving children more opportunity to get outdoors.

The 2023 Bush Kinder Grants Program is now closed. For more information on the grant guidelines and eligibility, visit the Bush Kinder Grants Program page.

What is bush kinder?

Bush kinder programs are early learning educational programs that are regularly delivered outdoors through natural environments. The natural spaces suited to bush kinder programs include places such as:

  • metropolitan parks
  • regional parks
  • local bushland
  • local beaches
  • visitor sites within national and state parks.

Bush kinder programs give children a unique opportunity and freedom to learn through play with natural materials in outdoor environments.

The Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF) and the National Quality Framework (NQF) acknowledge the critical importance of outdoor play for young children’s learning, including physical and cognitive development and wellbeing, and ability to assess risk.

The benefits of bush kinder

By increasing the amount of time children spend outdoors and in natural environments, bush kinder programs can help to:

  • improve children’s wellbeing, physical development, fine and gross motor skills, core strength, co-ordination, balance, eyesight and physical endurance
  • encourage children to build deeper understandings of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)
  • support children to make decisions and judgements that challenge and safely explore established boundaries
  • improve children’s connections to nature, which can encourage their knowledge and commitment to environmental sustainability into adulthood.

Bush kinder videos

Koorie Kids Shine

This Koorie Kids Shine video shows the positive impact that bush kinder and an outdoor learning environment can have on children.

The short video is a resource for all educators considering incorporating the local natural environment into learning, and for kindergartens considering joining the growing number of services offering a bush kinder program.

Yarra Bend bush kinder

The video below shows the benefits of learning in a natural outdoor setting, where children learn and explore in nature.

Planning for a bush kinder

Services should give careful consideration to the planning and development of a bush kinder program.

This includes:

  • consultation and communication with parents and families
  • selection of a suitable bush kinder site
  • review of service policies and procedures
  • risk assessments and program delivery requirements
  • development of the bush kinder educational program.

The following resources may support your planning:

Outdoor Pedagogy Portal

To support delivery of outdoor learning in Victoria, all Victorian educators have free access to the Victorian Educators Outdoor Pedagogy PortalExternal Link .

Aimed at generating inspiring outdoor practice and supporting the diversity within learning environments in our sector, the portal includes:

  • a professional learning module
  • online books
  • case studies on outdoor learning.

Contact us

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Reviewed 01 October 2023


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Department of Education

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