Strategic planting has been used to divide these ‘rooms’, including recent development of a bush tucker garden which adjoins the central sandpit area. Educators and children have been purposeful with all planting, choosing plants for shade and for bush food, and plants to attract local birds and wildlife. Well established vegetable gardens provide an opportunity for children to grow their own food for cooking experiences, with any extra produce stocking a market stall for families.
The Gumnuts Nature Learners group, as part of their preschool day, go to a learning space outside the fence in the adjacent park, that they have affectionately named “Bushworld”. These children spend their time immersed in nature, planting, foraging and observing. They enjoy locating evidence of possum drays in nearby trees, constructing bush humpies, and helping clear and develop the land there. Conversations have begun with Council and local Landcare groups for their advice and assistance in the development and regeneration of this space.
The outdoor learning spaces are in continual development, and recently the creek and mud patch areas were redeveloped with water conservation in mind. Children and families worked with local artist Sam Wortelhock, to create a colourful mural, which has transformed a large brick wall, creating a beautiful backdrop to stimulate play ideas and themes through the local wildlife habitats, flora and fauna depicted. These projects and two other murals completed under an artist in residence project with local Aboriginal artist Uncle Digby Moran in 2017, were funded through Quality Learning Environments and Community grants.