There was mud and water, sticks and stones, and loads of fun being had in Bundaleer Forest last Thursday and Friday as almost 200 school and pre-school children converged for a nature play day.
Education sites from within the Upper Mid North Partnership, including Jamestown, Crystal Brook, Gladstone and Laura, were involved in the play day which encouraged children to explore ‘Uninterrupted Mindful Nature Play’ in the beautiful forest setting.
Simon Hutchinson from Climbing Tree was the facilitator of the event and said it was all about getting kids back to nature.
“It’s about getting the kids back outdoors and breaking down that fear of nature, which is not so evident in country areas, but these days do encourage kids to take appropriate risks, explore free play, make their own fun, use creativity, go exploring and use problem-solving skills,” he said.
Crystal Brook Kindergarten director Karena Wilson said days like this epitomise what they strive for, for both children and their families.
“We want to provide experiences for children that take them back and allow them to get in touch with nature and to have fun with their friends and family,” she said.
“It is brilliant to see children build their resilience in environments that allow for risk and challenge. We observe them self-assessing the risks, making decisions and giving things a go.
“Often if their first attempt isn’t successful, we see them try and try again because they set goals and they want to experience the satisfaction and euphoric feeling of achieving them.”
Alongside the nature play day, a small group of locals was busy working away at a new ‘nature playground’ in the Bundaleer Forest Picnic Grounds.
Led by the Bundaleer Forest Community Areas Association, the new playground is well under way, with new swings and tree fort under construction and due to be completed by the end of August.