The Nature School brings fresh education model to Grassy Head

A new school which has seen success in Port Macquarie since it started up a year ago is expanding its program to Grassy Head.

The Nature School Pre-school will aim to run its innovative environment-focused learning program one day a week at the Grassy Head Yarra Ecology Centre after its first class kicked off on February 7.

Each participant has an opportunity to develop intrinsic motivation, sound emotional and social skills.

Yvonne Brown, The Nature School

The Nature School is one of few Australian schools to operate an outdoor learning model – a model which is popular in European countries but unconventional in Australia.

The learning model aims at taking young children away from the confines of brick and mortar classroom spaces, computer screens and tightly structured curriculum. 

LITTLE ADVENTURER: Local kid Toben Braun participated in The Nature School class and was particularly interested in ant holes in the ground, wanting to know more about how they are formed.

LITTLE ADVENTURER: Local kid Toben Braun participated in The Nature School class and was particularly interested in ant holes in the ground, wanting to know more about how they are formed.

Instead, the program offers kinesthetic and auditory learning with a belief that children develop more positively when their learning environment involves high levels of interaction and first-hand experiences as well as opportunities to pursue their independent interests. 

Children use full-sized tools, play, learn boundaries of behaviour; both physical and social, establish and grow in confidence, self-esteem and become self-motivated.

Yvonne Brown

“We believe that children learn best when climbing trees, watching wildlife, experience different weather patterns, understanding the seasons, respecting creatures and exploring whatever they would like to explore,” said program coordinator Yvonne Brown.

EXPLORERS: The Nature School kids learned how to fashion a swing out of wood and rope and took turns playing on their creation.

EXPLORERS: The Nature School kids learned how to fashion a swing out of wood and rope and took turns playing on their creation.

Local kid Toben Braun joined in on the first Grassy Head class.

Toben was particularly interested in how different insects formed their homes and was specifically curious about ant holes and how insects use the bark of trees to nest in.

“The philosophy of forest schools is to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through positive outdoor experiences, Ms Brown said.

“By participating in engaging, motivating and achievable tasks and activities in a woodland environment each participant has an opportunity to develop intrinsic motivation, sound emotional and social skills.

“The Nature School has demonstrated success with children of all ages who visit the same local woodlands on a regular basis and who have the opportunity to learn about the natural environment as well as how to handle risks and, most importantly, to use their own initiative to solve problems and co-operate with others,”

“Children use full sized tools, play, learn boundaries of behaviour; both physical and social, establish and grow in confidence, self-esteem and become self-motivated.”