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Bubble wrap off: Kids go back to nature

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Doherty, Elissa
Publication Date: 
20 Oct 2011



Nature is being brought back to children's lives as childcare centres revolt against sanitised play areas and bubble-wrap parents.


Trees, grass, vegetable gardens and wooden play equipment are sprouting, and AstroTurf and "boring" plastic playgrounds are being ripped up at a growing number of centres.

Mission Australia is redesigning seven childcare centres around Australia to fight bio-phobia.

The centres were "depressing" and sterile when taken over from failed ABC Learning in 2009, devoid of grass, plants and trees, Mission Australia said.

Early learning services national manager Marie Howard said the newly completed Springvale South site incorporated vegetable gardens, a digging patch, two sandpits, wooden mobile play equipment, a stage, trees and bushes.

"There's a lot of irrational fear about what could happen to children," she said.

"Children aged up to five are at their most important stage of development. Their learning environment, both indoors and outdoors, is critical in shaping their future health, learning and social ability."

She said nature-based play let children engage in spontaneity, risk-taking, exploration and discovery.

So sanitised have some centres become, the Government's new national quality framework for childcare centres even stipulates they must offer a connection with the natural environment.


- reprinted from the Herald Sun

Entered Date: 
9 Nov 2011
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