Nature Playgroup at Wodonga TAFE
Monday, 27 March 2023
The Early Childhood Team welcomes you and your family to our Nature Playgroup at Wodonga TAFE.
Nature Playgroup is run with the assistance of Early Childhood Education and Care students, and also coordinated by Sarah Sandeman, Teacher, Early Childhood Education and Care.
We aim to provide a unique and natural play environment for families and children to support healthy risk taking, build relationships, and encourage children to be actively involved in caring for nature.
Our Nature Playgroup provides your family with opportunities to enhance and promote children's connection to nature in a safe and supportive natural setting. Children will gain understanding of the importance of their natural world and how to care for it. Increasing connections to the land, plants and people. It will be a place for the children to explore, imagine, create and have fun with a relaxed and unhurried environment.
Being outdoors can help your child in a variety of ways, including boosting their immune system by increasing their exposure to different bacteria whilst also helping the child’s physical health by providing more exercise and fresh air.
Developmental benefits of being outside can include social and emotional wellbeing, physical development, language skills, sensory output, connection to their world and supporting ongoing learning with curiosity, exploration and hypothesizing.
Information for you
- Our sessions run on Monday mornings between 9.30am and 11.30am.
- We operate during the Victorian school terms, there are no sessions during school holidays or public holidays.
- We are situated down by the creek on the Wodonga TAFE campus. (Map attached)
- We run all year long even during the winter months and even when it rains. This is the perfect opportunity for gumboots and raincoats.
- We are unable to conduct sessions if there is a severe weather or flash flood warnings.
- There is no running water or toilet facilities in our area, but there are some a short walk away on the Wodonga TAFE campus.
- You must sign in and out of the sessions you attend whether or not you stay for the whole session or part of the session.
- You must stay with your children at all times as we are a Playgroup and not a Registered Early Childhood Service.
- We set up the learning environment with opportunities to connect with nature and explore risky play. This also includes the use of a fire pit during the winter months and accessing the creek during spring for tadpoles. We have hammers, nails and saws that are a regular item within the setting.
What you need to bring
- Morning tea
- Drink bottles
- Appropriate shoes
- Appropriate clothing for all weathers
- Gold coin donation (appreciated to support purchasing items such as sunscreen, bug repellent, first aid supplies, learning resources)
Our playgroup offers the Early Childhood students the opportunity to link the theory they have been studying into practice. They will do this through planning and setting up outdoor experiences and building positive interactions with children and families. Emphasis will be placed on creating learning opportunities for the students. Please don’t hesitate to ask either the students or myself any questions you may have about this.
It is important that we remember that our students are at the very beginning of their learning journey and will require much guidance and support as they master new skills and make connections with theory and practice.
We strongly suggest families come and try the playgroup out for a few sessions, before deciding to join us on a regular basis. Then if your family does decide our Playgroup is a good fit, we strongly recommend you take out a membership with Playgroup Victoria for insurance purposes. I will explain the process for this when we talk in person at playgroup. (There is no cost involved)
- We do have some permission slips and enrolment paperwork we require you to fill out when you attend your first session.
All types of weather
We embrace all types of weather when operating nature play group. The only time our sessions are cancelled due to the weather is if there is an extreme weather warning issued, as lightening and extreme wind makes our area unsafe. When a Flood warning is issued, we will also cancel our session as our creek rises extremely quickly from its catchment area.
I am thrilled that you will be joining me on this journey as we explore open ended practices and environmental responsibilities whilst supporting children to take risks and be comfortable within the outdoor learning environment. I have a passion for creative expression, using natural and recycled materials within the learning environment to support sustainable approaches with inclusion at the forefront of all our interactions.
This is your playgroup too and we appreciate all contributions and valued feedback.
I can be contacted via our Community Services & Health Admin team, phone 02 6055 6506, or email CSHAdministration@wodongatafe.edu.au
The students and I are looking forward to an exciting time at playgroup and trust that you enjoy your time with us.