Curriculum & Programs - Bush School

 “Outdoor spaces with plants, trees, rocks, mud and water invite open ended interactions, spontaneity, risk taking and a connection with nature.”
(NQS, 2010, Element 3 Physical environment)”

Bush Schools Philosophy

The philosophy of Bush Schools is to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through positive experiences and participation in engaging and motivating achievable activities in a bush environment, helping to develop personal, social and emotional skills. Children use full sized tools, play, learn boundaries of behaviour, both physical and social, grow in confidence, self-esteem and motivation.


The Donald Primary School ‘Bush School’ and Community Links 

• A community with a closer connection with nature & the local environment. 

• A community that values and participates in nature based activities more regularly. 

• A healthier and more environmentally aware community. 

• A well connected and cohesive community. 

• Creative, independent and resilient children. 

• Encouragement and involvement from school families, community groups, organisations such as Landcare, Girl Guides & Scouts etc.


Our Bush School Vision 

Australian and International research shows that children today are spending much more time indoors, in front of screens and participating in structured activities. These activities restrict children from participating regularly in outdoor unstructured activities and exploring natural environments.

It has been documented that this shift is contributing to health problems such as increased anxiety and obesity, while children are suffering from a lack of connection with nature and the outside world.

We want to help turn this trend around and give the kids of Donald a chance to spend quality time in nature with passionate teachers, to encourage them to explore and learn. 


A Bush School Experience 

A Bush School education for students is held almost exclusively outdoors. Whatever the weather, children are encouraged to take the lead in playing, exploring and learning in a bush or natural environment.

Forest schools have been operating successfully in Northern Europe for over 50 years. Our ‘Bush School’ is one of the first of its kind in Australia, and is a model to suit our community’s and children’s specific needs.

It recognises the place the bush has in Australian folklore and the significance of the land in aboriginal culture. It draws upon and extends the existing philosophy and pedagogy of Donald to offer unique educational programs.


Program Details 

The program is held on the Schools environmental plantation initially every Thursday afternoon and at other times when the opportunity occurs.

Children are asked to bring a change of old clothes and work boots, however gumboots will be supplied. No toys, No art supplies, No TV’s! The children and adults benefit from using only what nature has provided.

The program offers us a unique way to invite experts, community members and parents to the school to assist with the program delivery. 

The First Planting of the Bush Block
The Bush Block Today
Students sheltering in a bush cubby
Marshmallows always a favourite