ellaslist Reviews: We Tried A Term of Centennial Park❜s Bush School Program

  • Toddlers

My newly turned-four-year-old girl loves to be outside running, climbing, jumping, and blowing off all of the steam. (She also loves to be outside wearing fewer layers than is seasonally appropriate, but that’s a story for another day.)

We reviewed Centennial Park’s Bush School program last year, and have been well and truly converted. We have reduced our party of three to a party of two thanks to grandparents who are willing to take Ms 4’s very-cute-but-very-pesty little brother, and my girl and I have enjoyed Tuesday mornings out in nature ever since.

Centennial Park’s Bush School

Inspiring a Love of Nature

As with lots of Sydney families, we live in an apartment block with limited outdoor space—which means we look to parks, playgrounds, and public spaces to get out and about in nature. Because of this, we head outdoors a lot, and Bush School has been a game-changer for my little girl’s confidence in approaching new environments and trying new activities.

Centennial Park Bush School
A very happy Ms-4 in her autumnal element at Centennial Park's Bush School.

Her sense of assuredness in nature is a true joy to witness, and she’s able to occupy herself with minimal equipment, drawing on the toolkit of skills she’s learned at Bush School to create her own little world of magic in the outdoors. Whether she’s foraging crunchy leaves, sticks, and fallen blossoms for some craft, climbing a tree with a sense of quiet confidence, or listening to birds and pondering what colour feathers they have, it’s safe to say that Bush School has seeped into my girl’s consciousness in a big way.

RELATED: ellaslist Reviews: Centennial Park Bush School

Child-Lead Learning

Centennial Park Bush School
Lost in her own little world at the Bush School mud kitchen. 

One of the (many) things Ms 4 has loved most about Bush School, is the sheer freedom and opportunity to follow her own interests. As we know with kids, they rarely all feel like doing the same thing at the same time—and the Bush School environment is amazing for supporting each child to do what feels good to them, encouraging them to follow their own lead and interests.

Centennial Park Bush School
Bush School kids love to take breaks from other activities for a quick see-saw!

The activities offered at Bush School have proven to really engage my craft-loving girl, but I’ve noticed how adept the Rangers are at picking up on kids’ cues and tailoring the topic and activity at hand to suit the group.

Lessons Learned

Centennial Park Bush School
Bush School has been transformative in giving Ms 4 a range of skills to use when playing in nature.

During one session, while others occupied themselves on the play equipment, in the mud kitchen, or mark-making on the rocks with chalks, Ms 4 lost herself in a world of weaving leaves, sticks, and pine cones with Ranger Jen and some other Bush School-ers. It made me reflect on how much her attention span has improved, and how her patience for a tricky task has increased—and is now less likely to end in a frenzy of frustration.

I truly think this is thanks to the Ranger’s calm, no-pressure patience for creating such a happy and playful learning environment at Bush School—which in turn builds resilience in the kiddos. How valuable!

Fun and Freedom

Centennial Park Bush School
Playing in nature is bucket-loads of fun! Does it get any better? 

Bush School is the ultimate blend of fun freedom and intentional learning. Ms 4 has loved getting to know different Rangers, and I've been so heartened to see how much effort each one has put into getting to know my girl for who she is. She has learned a lot from the Rangers—but more importantly than that, she's loved playing with new people in such a free and fun environment.

Bush School - we'll be back!

 Find out more about joining in at Bush School and book your sessions at Centennial Park Bush School.

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