Our school delivers the Australian Curriculum through a nature play-based learning approach. We aim to bring together the latest research in education around teaching, learning, student wellbeing and engagement, to create a holistic approach to learning.

Situated within beautiful heritage bushland in the Adelaide Hills, our surrounding environment is inspirational for nature play-based learning. At “Bush School” we enjoy and value a community way of learning. We aim to support each other as part of a “village” learning community. Kamana Kindness underpins our harmonious culture; where respect, trust and empathy, mindfulness and expectations of personal integrity and honour, extend to attitudes of kindness and caring in our community.

Being a small school, staff care deeply and know about all the children. Many of our learning activities also involve the entire school or mixed-age groups, which also helps facilitate each child feeling part of our community. We endeavour to provide a collaborative, flexible and supportive environment that challenges every learner to achieve their potential. We aspire for school and home life to be connected as we know this is beneficial for the children’s sense of security and trust.

At Bush School, we connect learning with nature. We work towards projects that have real-life application; like how to successfully garden and grow food. There is strong evidence that children need time to play in nature, the benefit being that this time fosters life-long learning skills and decreases anxiety. Imagination, fascination, inquiry, creativity and problem-solving feature in the opportunity to play and learn in the bush. At the start of the year, each child receives a hardcover journal that becomes their daily place to record and reflect upon their BIO-Learning experiences (both inside and outside of the classroom learning). At the end of every term, the school has a showcase evening where the school community gathers to celebrate, discover and watch what the children have to perform or display, from their learning.

At Upper Sturt, we are very conscious of the impact of prolonged screen time and that inappropriate films, games and internet access can cause serious problems for our young children and families. We are aware that for some children with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, access to specific software is beneficial for their learning. We also know that access to technology can enhance our nature-based learning in a range of ways. Upper Sturt Bush School is a WiFi – aware school. Children access the internet using cabled devices. At school, we request that mobile phones and wireless devices are switched to flight mode and left at the front office. See our WiFi Policy for further details. Older children access computers to assist and support their learning, research and communication possibilities.

Bush School allows children to continue learning through unstructured play, while at the same time learning how to play safely. When connected to the natural world, children’s sense of wonder, curiosity, imagination and learning is heightened.

“Staff encourage the expression of individual strengths and personalities. They encourage wonderings and contribution with non-judgement and acceptance, expertly using these to connect students with their learning and to motivate development, progress and achievement. They are professional, genuine, patient and kind. They celebrate success. They invite individuals to share who they are and promote a sense of belonging and therefore confidence to shine. The structure of the whole school approach encourages each child’s sense of belonging, purpose and value. They are not lost in a sea of faces and start their day as a group – connecting, sharing stories, setting learning intentions and reinforcing the positive and respectful learning culture of our school.”

Jessica Jones, Parent at Upper Sturt Primary School