Death is fascinating

I’m not sure how you feel about discussing this topic with young children – but l know from many years of experience that it is an important and valuable learning experience.

Every morning before a session l complete an important site check to look at the upper, mid and lower canopy as well as the leaf litter and creek areas.

I had actually noticed the crow last week on my previsit – before bush kindy term started – to ensure that there were no other major issues. Sadly the weed species on our site have not had any attention from the Moreton Regional Council for some time and l quickly sent an email to the Public Spaces coordinator.

On a side note ……I had a meeting with council on site Wednesday morning where l explained the need for some weed removal -hopefully we have some response soon.

At that time l noticed the crow laying beside the creek- it was very stinky and covered in flies – and l recognised the value in leaving it alone so that we could explore this learning experience.

We were so excited to start our term and as part of our daily morning sharing and discussion l mentioned my find.

For many children this was a focus of their interactions, conversations and wonderings !!!

Observing with our new magnifying glasses.

So many questions, so much discussion.

The new magnifying glasses provided the perfect opportunity to view the decaying skeleton. Even the youngest of the group spent quite some time observing from a distance, as well as close up.

From their observations and musings there were many questions which included ….

Why does it have no eyes?

Why are the flies on it?

Why does it have white feathers?

Why did it die ?

Where did it come from?

“It has no eyes”

I could have chosen to remove the dead bird from our bush site… just imagine….. we would have missed out on a fabulous rich and meaningful learning experience.

Death and decay are so fascinating.

It’s a really valuable way to investigate and understand the circle of life.

In our discussions and responses – we used very simple, honest and direct language. 

We look forward to observing what happens each week and the connections the children will make.

Jo x

Danish Forest School Experiences

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Skovbornehaven, Middelfart,
August 2019

Since 2003 l have been very fortunate to visit a wide range of early childhood services in Denmark that are based in nature.

In Denmark there is a deep and long held cultural understanding, appreciation of and expectation that children should play in nature regularly.

Early childhood services, well resourced and funded facilities in local parks and forests connect children, families and communities.

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Nature reference books at a local council run environment centre -Naturecenter Hindsgavl, Middelfart.

Parental leave is generous and guaranteed childcare places are available to families within local neighborhoods.

I have been both challenged and inspired from what l have observed and through interactions and conversations with educators, children and families.

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Children respect and learn about the circle of life from creatures found in the local forest, Skovbornehaven Odder 2012.

When translating what happens in many Scandinavian countries there are many elements of nature immersion that just can’t be replicated in our environment. One of the most significant and impacting factors is our Australian wildlife and climate.

For many years Australian early childhood services have also known of the benefits children and educators gain when spending time playing in nature. It is very encouraging to see so many early childhood services recognising and embracing this.

A growing industry of training Forest School Leaders, has given confidence to many in the teaching profession, as well as parents and the wider school/local community.

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Skovbornehaven, Middelfart, Denmark August 2019

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On my long service leave in 2016 l attended Inside out Natures residential course in Viborg, Denmark with Jane Williams-Siegfredsen. Jane gave me great insights into understanding this curriculum approach.


You may have seen this video from SBS ” Kids gone wild ” as these were the services that we visited.

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Skovbornehaven, Skive Denmark June 2016
This service is nestled in a forest beside a fjord.
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Hondruphus Naturbornehave, Tjele Denmark June 2016
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I have been visiting this fabulous local centre in Odder each time l go to Denmark, for over 10 years. Each time l visit l am inspired by their connection to the local forest, their community and for becoming an internationally recognised ‘Green Flag’ School.

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Skovtrolden Aarhus Denmark June 2010 – this early childhood service takes the children by bus from their central building in the city, to their forest camp beside the beach several days a week.
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This local child care centre has a well established service in the town as well as this summer camp base, held for 6 weeks in the forest, Randers – Denmark 2016.

My last visit to Denmark was in 2019 and due to the pandemic it may be a little while yet until l return. I look forward to more time spent exploring these amazing spaces then.

Jo x

2022 …let’s go !!!!

Hello and welcome to my new and long awaited blog. This has been in the makings for some time as l have been slowly updating and reworking the website with the help of Lindsay Salmon’s expert support.

So….what can you expect….good question….in my spare spare time….hahahah…says every busy mother….l aim to write about and share my adventures and love of teaching as we learn in and with nature.

I hope to express the importance of fostering stewardship in these early years and the remarkable way children and families are reconnecting with and learning from their environment.

Here’s to a great year. I hope you can join me for this journey.

Jo x

Quiet observation

So much to observe on our return for the new year.

It’s the start of another year for Bush Knowing. 2022 is our 4th year of operation in what has been a particularly tough time for a lot of small business owners.

As you may be aware l operate this Forest School at the end of my part time teaching week, balancing this with my love of being in nature.

Creating these sessions each week is hard work, though an absolute joy to share with families.

Today l spent some time – reflecting – observing – listening and thinking about our sessions. This special place that l have the privilege of caring for and learning from, offers so much.

I stood quietly on the bank of the creek for a few minutes and then wandered around the dense and weedy trails. For over 12 years I have had a special connection to this beautiful and wild green space.

So much to see, so much to hear, so much to learn.

I often tell the children to ” Look up, look down, look all around”.

And today…that’s what l did.

This solo visit gave me the opportunity to view this space from many perspectives.

Fungi, butterflies, a Sacred Kingfisher, a carcass of a dead crow, a fast flowing creek, lots of weeds and growth amongst the native trees.

I can’t wait to learn in and from nature with you in 2022.

Jo x