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Early learners go bush

KINDERGARTEN and prep students at Cambridge Primary School are taking learning out of the classroom, getting down, dirty and hands on as part of the school’s ‘Bush School’ program.

Once a week, the students get the chance to run wild and explore in the school’s adjacent bush reserve, owned and maintained by Clarence City Council.

For three hours every Friday morning, no matter the weather, the students participate in a range of activities that coincide with the classroom teachings for that week.

This recently included a scavenger hunt as part of a geography lesson, where the students learnt about special places and how to take care of them.

Cambridge Primary School prep teacher Jodi Freeman said the Bush School brought the curriculum to life.

“At Cambridge Primary School, we believe that children can get tremendous benefit from taking part in regular nature play and learning outside the classroom,” she said.

“So, every week, the students explore, make, build and problem-solve, and then we bring that learning back into the classroom.

“For example, if we’re learning about life and living, then we go and study ants and insects – it just links their learning to the real world.

“The Bush School program has been running for the kinder and prep students for a couple of years now and we hope to eventually expand it throughout the school.”

Ms Freeman said the students “absolutely loved it.”

“Every day they come to school and ask if it’s bush day and even if it’s raining, we have the paddle-suits and tarps ready,” she said.

“To be outside and exploring, the kids are truly in their element – it’s what early childhood learning is all about.”

In partnership with Clarence City Council and Landcare Tasmania, Cambridge Primary School will be dedicating its weekly Bush School lesson later this month to planting trees in honour of National Tree Day.

For more information about National Tree Day, visit https://treeday.planetark.org.

Caption: Cambridge Primary School students, from left, Darcy Mason, Henry McBride and Oscar Treymayne test out a handmade t-pee as part of the Bush School program.