During our programs children are encouraged to climb, crawl, clamber, scramble, dig, slither, sing, explore, run, roll, flap, feel, kick, play, patrol, build, imagine, make, ask, seek, chase, look and listen. We try to interfere as little as possible with their play, offering children the opportunity and time to imagine, discover, daydream or master new skills at their own pace.
Read our manifesto for children's play.
Our programs are guided by pedagogical principles that combine the Scandinavian forest school movement, adventure play and child-directed exploration and learning. By creating a gentle, nurturing yet stimulating environment, we support young children in their natural development. Our approach is:
Child led - Children are given the time and freedom to explore at their own pace, following their natural curiosity, instinct and ideas. There is no schedule, and children are unhurried in their explorations - in fact they are encouraged to take time to observe, reflect, make decisions and evaluate risks.
Gentle and respectful - We encourage children to move gently in the natural environment, among their peers, and in their use of tools. We observe changes and transformations in the natural surroundings, learn about nature's rhythms and seasonal changes. Over time, children develop a deep sense of ownership and connection to that space. An increasing sense of security and self-confidence fosters their growing independence.
Supportive of risk-taking and adventure - Kids know how much risk they can handle, and since they are unhurried they have the invaluable opportunity to try and repeat until they can master a task. Adults offer support and supervision but there is minimal interference. This does not mean, of course, that we put our children at risk. We take safety very, very seriously.
At Big Scrub Nature Play, Nature is our curriculum! Each and every interaction that we have with the natural world has the potential to bring to light new discoveries, new connections and new possibilities. We are so lucky to live in this beautiful area, surrounded by nature, with access to rainforest, bush land, beach, ocean and lakes that provide endless opportunities to play and learn. And for this, we feel incredibly grateful and humble.
Childhood should be simple, unhurried and full of wonder.
Children are innately curious and driven to learn.
Children who play in nature will grow up to love and protect it.
Children of all backgrounds, cultures and abilities can learn and thrive in nature.
Children gain pride and independence when trusted and empowered.
Hi! I'm Lidia, the founder of Big Scrub Nature Play. This beautiful journey of nature connection started with the birth of my first child in 2014. Back then I was looking for ways to find peace and tranquility, to slow down and truly connect with my baby. It wasn't long until I realised that we were both at our happiest when we were outdoors. We didn't need toys, screens, entertainment.. all we needed was each other's presence and love, while we soaked in the beauty of Nature. This realisation led me to eventually train as a play worker and Forest School leader, and in 2019 I founded Big Scrub Nature Play on those same core values.
My mission is to create a safe and nurturing environment where children can find a deeper connection with themselves and with nature using the universal language of Play.
When I'm not out crafting, playing and jumping in mud you will find me running on trails or writing stories by the ocean, but never too far from a good cup of coffee!