Nature Play, Bush Kindy, Forest School - what is the difference?

There is no real difference, they are just different names for essentially the same thing. Some centres feel that bush is more Australian and therefore call their programs Bush Kindy or Bush Kinder. We are surrounded by rainforest and it seemed more appropriate to call ours Forest School. There is however a difference in the sessions we offer. Our Nature Playgroups are 2 hour sessions with a heavy focus on free play, nature based craft, songs and storytelling. Our other programs including our Forest School sessions encourage children to use real tools, creating and cooking over a camp fire and other riskier activities. There is still lots of free play and child-led exploration.

What do children do at Forest School?

The activities that happen in a Forest School vary depending on the season, climate, landscape, the children are attend and most importantly, their interests. Some activities are usually provided, but rather than being adult-led, each child chooses and tailors the activity to suit them, while the leaders observe their preferences and development. Sometimes children will work independently other times will work as a team in order to create something, support one another, or solve a problem. What all Forest Schools have in common is an approach to early childhood education that focuses on outdoor play and fosters environmental stewardship. The activities are child-led and play-based. Children learn through direct experience, through their five senses and by using their innate curiosity and sense of wonder.

Are you an actual school?

No, we are not a school in the traditional sense, nor a daycare or kindy provider. We are a nature activity provider and offer both parent/child and drop off programs.

Is it dangerous?

Forest School educators are trained to risk assess both the environment and the activity. We constantly look for possible hazards and put control measures in place to keep the children in our care as safe as possible. Our job is to make the environment as safe as possible for children to benefit from risky play and experience nature in it's truest form. Some activities may seem ‘risky’ - such as climbing trees, or using tools - but they are in fact managed so well that the risk benefits far outweigh the risk.

About us

​Big Scrub Nature Play offers nature playgroups and forest school sessions in Lennox Head, Ballina and Byron hinterland. We provide a warm, inviting and stimulating environment which nurtures children and embraces families as partners in a community of learners.


Big Scrub Nature Play acknowledges that we work and play together on the traditional land of the Bundjalung people.

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© 2020 The Big Scrub Nature Play