top of page

Bush Kinder

At Thornbury Kindergarten we offer an immersive Bush Kinder program in half of our kinder groups


Depending on the group chosen, children spend either one or two four-hour sessions each week at one of our bush sites. This is an ideal environment for them to learn with uninterrupted play in the bush using what nature has provided as learning materials.


Children have the opportunity to play in the rain, roll down grassy mounds, balance along fallen logs, get involved in dramatic play, find insects and draw with sticks in the ground.


Children doing Bush Kinder spend their remaining hours a week at Home Kinder, where the teachers continue and extend the independent bush play within the kinder setting. The custom-designed outdoor space at Home Kinder emulates the nature setting, and mirrors the themes of creativity, resilience, challenge and connection found in bush play.


All groups include both three and four-year-old enrolments, as mixed-age groups facilitate our community-learning model and are considered best-practice for early childhood learning settings.

All Bush Kinder sessions have an extra staff member (three in total) and are above the required care ratio - this means staff can carefully manage and support the children. To learn more about how Bush Kinder works (including weather contingencies, drop-off and more), take a look at the:

 Bush Kinder Handbook

Benefits of Bush Kinder


Children who have regular nature play time are sick less often and are more active, resilient, creative in play, better able to assess risks and are more engaged in science and technology (especially for girls). Both the Bush Kinder and Out and About programs emphasise play in natural settings, but our Bush Kinder programs (especially Blue and Yellow Groups with TWO whole bush sessions) offer children a rare opportunity for immersive outdoor learning, before they go on to the more structured learning of school.


Thornbury Kindergarten have almost a decade of expertise in running bush kinder programs and managing outdoor conditions – we usually have have around 0-2 cancellations/early pickups each year as well as the occasional (carefully managed) weather relocation. 

Of course, all our programs have the same ethos of supported, unstructured play to provide the best outcomes for your child, and the most important factor in selecting your program is that it suits your family’s needs and routine.

“We picked Bush Kinder because our twins were really struggling to play independently of us, or cope with a spot of mud on their raincoats – now they are insatiable climbers, builders and splashers. It was hard sometimes to juggle with the baby nap time, but 100% worth it for us.”

Rebecca – Red Group Parent 

yellow site.png

Dropoff and pickup for Bush Kinder sessions are at the Bush Kinder sites


Darebin Parklands Site

(at the bend of Smith St, Alphington)

Darebin Creek Site

(at the east end of Mansfield St, Thornbury)

red and blue site.png
bottom of page