Affordances for Science Learning in “Bush Kinders”


  • Coral Campbell School of Education, Deakin University
  • Chris Speldewinde School of Education, Deakin University



The European forest kindergarten movement has recently translated into an Australian ‘bush kinder’ approach. The affordances of bush kindergarten settings with relation to the science experienced through play has not been previously investigated. This pilot project followed three kindergartens in South Eastern Australia using a bush kindergarten approach. A phenomenographic case study approach was used, in which data consisted of observations of ‘science learning through play’ during bush kinder sessions and educator interviews. Using interactive video interviews, educators were asked to comment on their perceptions of the science that formed children’s play. Findings suggest that the bush kinder environment enables children to experience and improve their understanding of a range of science ideas, however, there is an impact in the scope of children’s learning based on the educator scaffolding. It is argued here that bush kinder provides affordances for science learning and makes an important contribution to science education.






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