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Title: Westgarth Kindergarten Bush Kinder Evaluation Report
Contributor(s): Elliott, Sue  (author); Chancellor, Barbara (author)
Corporate Author: Westgarth Kindergarten Bush Kinder Sub-Committee
Publication Date: 2012
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Abstract: The Westgarth Kindergarten is a community-based early childhood service located in the City of Darebin, Melbourne. The service regularly offers sessional four-year-old and three-year-old early childhood programs and is managed by a parent committee. This study concerns the Westgarth Kindergarten community's response to an Australian Government directive that requires all four-year-olds to attend 15 hours of kindergarten program per week from January 2013. Like many other kindergartens, such an increase in hours would lead to a loss of the centre's much-valued three-year-old group due to space and time constraints. The Westgarth Kindergarten Committee proactively responded to this concern by developing a pilot Bush Kinder program in 2011 and establishing the Westgarth Kindergarten Bush Kinder Sub-committee to manage the pilot program. The development of the program was informed by the forest preschool approach which originated in Scandinavia in the 1950's and is now an emerging an international movement. This movement is supported by evidence of the decreasing opportunities for children to play outdoors in nature and the linked concerns about children's health and wellbeing. This uniquely Australian Bush Kinder program operates at a selected site within Darebin Parklands, two and a half kilometres from Westgarth Kindergarten. The four-year-old children participate in a play-based child-directed program at the bushland site each Wednesday with two kindergarten teachers. In total the children attend twelve hours of preschool per week at Westgarth Kindergarten (home kindergarten) and three hours per week at the Bush Kinder. This report documents how the pilot program has exceeded all expectations and as a model, the pilot offers an alternative for the provision of kindergarten programs.
Publication Type: Report
Publisher: Westgarth Kindergarten and RMIT University
Place of Publication: Westgarth, Australia
Field of Research (FOR): 130202 Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development
130102 Early Childhood Education (excl Maori)
130303 Education Assessment and Evaluation
HERDC Category Description: R1 Contract Report
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Extent of Pages: 31
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