The foundation of our programmes is free-play in a natural setting with as little assistance as possible from equipment and technology. We offer a chance for children to play as they like, for as long as they like, within a framework of respect for those around them and the environment.
Extension opportunities will be available but only if the children genuinely want to participate. We provide basic equipment suitable to exploring the outdoors: ropes, tarpaulins, bungees, compass, magnifying glasses, knives (to be used with supervision) and some art equipment.
Our programs are designed as an antidote to the fast-paced technology-filled world many children now inhabit. Any personal devices (phones, iPods, etc) must be left at home.
Our children’s lives are so filled with structure, this program aims to give them a break from instruction and allow them to play as they like, for as long as they like, within a framework of respect for those around them and the environment. Extension opportunities will be available but only if the children genuinely want to participate. Playing in the outdoors inevitably means getting dirty, and often getting a few scrapes and bruises too. If you or your child are not happy with this concept then this is not the programme for you.
The program will go ahead in all weather. Rain brings exciting opportunities for play and exploration and of course shelter building! Good quality wet weather gear is very important. We wholeheartedly believe the famous quote "there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing". Waterproof gear (jacket and pants) is compulsory for rainy days. We offer waterproof pants for sale in our online shop. In case of the severe weather warning, we always have an indoor venue booked and ready to move the group in.
Some benefits of regular free play in nature:
- Increased physical activity, and less risk of childhood obesity
- Children learn to interact with, and better understand the natural world
- Helps improve children’s cognitive function, personality development, and attention in school
- Improves childhood mental health and ability to handle stress
- ‘Dangerous’ free play gives children a chance to develop the physical and emotional skills to deal with emergencies
- Children learn to assess and manage risks
- Learn to regulate emotion, and practice negotiation skills
- Develop and practice motor skills
- Supports creativity and problem solving
- Improves the performance of children with ADHD.
Ratio 1 adult: 8 children.
The Hardy Centre is a hidden wonderland waiting to be explored next to the Hamilton Gardens. It offers opportunities to explore bush tracks and diverse vegetation, and then to build huts and climb trees in a private and secluded bush setting. Wide open spaces for playing tag and soccer, a dedicated fire pit for cooking toast and steep slopes for scrambling are just some of the possibilities this site offers.
Opportunities will be offered to learn knot tying and whittling skills or to simply find some trees to hang a hammock in and unwind after a busy term at school. Children will play like previous generations did, away from screens and schedules, and exploring and appreciating the natural beauty that we are all blessed with. Keep your annual leave for family holidays and let us care for your children in an unstructured play, natural setting.