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The first Australian programme of its kind, Early Years Bush Connections, an adaption of the Scandinavian pedagogy, was created for pre-service learners, early childhood practitioners and environmental educators to provide young children with learning in the Australian bush.
In 2012, Fran Hughes, Head Teacher, led a group of students on a study tour to Denmark to look at the European Forest School concept. What they experienced led to the development of Early Years Bush Connections, an adaption of the Scandinavian pedagogy for young children learning in the Australian bush. This is a training programme for pre-service learners, early childhood practitioners and environmental educators. It is based on the principle that through learning about nature, in a natural setting, children are more likely to grow up respecting and caring for the environment.
This training programme is an Australian first, and was run for the first time in Centennial Parklands and TAFE NSW Randwick College in 2013 with 20 participants from childcare centres across Sydney. The curriculum has been developed through a network of industry partners, including Early Childhood Environmental Network and Centennial Parklands, who are as passionate as Fran about learning in the bush. Participants have already started to develop nature based learning programmes back in their own Child Care Centres. It is estimated that as the training programme continues, it will be delivered across Australia.
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