Yarra kindergarten winners at Victorian Early Years Awards

Keele Street Children’s Centre in Collingwood has been recognised by the Victorian Department of Education for its Bush Kinder program.

The program, which has been developed to support children to connect to Country and nature, earned Keele Street Children’s Centre the Emeritus Professor Collette Tayler Excellence in Educational Leadership Award at the 2022 Victorian Early Years Awards.

The program was developed by Keele Street’s staff in consultation with the Wurundjeri Land Council, Parks Victoria and the Merri Creek Management Committee, and aims to help children understand the history of Yarra Bend and its cultural significance.

Together, they developed a place-based Bush Kinder program that responded to children’s’ emerging interest in flora and fauna. Landcare custodians showed children how to treat Country with respect when visiting, and wildlife safety experts shared practical skills and knowledge about the wildlife the children could encounter at Yarra Bend.

By creating opportunities for children to learn about Country and the natural bush environment of Yarra Bend, Keele Street has seen an increase in children’s wellbeing, participation, and sense of belonging.

Victorian Early Years Award winners will receive a grant of $15,000 for professional development or to support their nominated initiative.

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