At Bush School, we apply the Australian Curriculum through a nature play-based learning approach, using the resources provided from inside and outside the classroom. Staff have observed that being connected to nature allows children to develop the ability to assess risks and solve problems; so essential in our modern world. Equally, children become better at managing their emotions and relationships and self-management skills.

Using BIO-Learning (an integrated offering with both inside and outside learning), children are encouraged to apply learnt knowledge in practical ways, such as in Maths, Literacy, Science, STEM and Creative Art as it applies to the world around them.

Our ‘Bush School’ Curriculum draws interesting and profound wonderings from children. At the beginning of each term, we collect these ‘wonderings’ from the children and base our lesson plans around them. The teachers then weave wonderings in line with the core elements of the Australian Curriculum learning cycle. Children know they have been considered and valued for what they have contributed, and it is not unusual to find on any given day teachers enthusiastically learning with the children.

There are also wonderful opportunities for children to work in mixed-age groups, which enhances their personal learning, interpersonal skills, resilience and appreciation of others’ skills, passions and dispositions. A prime example is Kamana, which is practised every week as a whole school and aims to develop children’s learning around sensory awareness and kindness to each other.

The children engage in Art, Music and Sport weekly and they split into different mixed-aged groups called “seed pods”. These pods give them learning opportunities such as leadership, mentorship, and ownership over their own curriculum learning. It allows children moments of reflection and immersion in nature as ongoing beneficial life practices. Respect, trust, empathy, mindfulness, expectations of personal integrity and honour extend to attitudes of kindness and caring in across our school and the wider community. Bush School aspires for a whole school and child holistic learning approach designed for children to reach their full potential.

Our school is ‘small by design’ with a whole school approach within a personalized framework for each child. We strive to help children develop competent essential skills and emotional wellness. With learning inspired by nature and children who are engaged, the unique atmosphere at this beautiful community school is matched perfectly with the beautiful surroundings of the heritage bushland.

Teaching Methodology

In today’s society, time for exploring and play in an outdoor environment tends to be very limited. There is a lot of evidence to prove that children benefit both psychologically and physically in nature. Upper Sturt Bush School provides children with the ability to use nature as a learning resource, and to inspire their curiosity and creativity.

At Bush School, the teachers consistently review and reflect on their practice to ensure they offer purposeful learning opportunities for all children. We value the importance of children learning in spaces where they can continue to imagine and create throughout their primary school years. We facilitate children to understand the importance of believing in their abilities, knowing how they learn and to set goals for achievement.

Our teachers work at developing positive relationships, knowing this underpins values of respect and trust. Relevant and timely feedback helps children understand how they are going. Parent and teacher discussion times are usually available by appointment, but staff are also accessible after school for informal catch-ups. Written reports are provided at the end of Terms 2 and 4, in which each child usually has something personalised in their reports about individual learning; where children are not only defined as a grade on a report. The teachers know and care about all the children and work to help them reach their individual and class group potential. Mixed-age groups also encourage peer learning and sharing between ages, so children see themselves as part of a whole community as well.