Young Explorers Embrace Biodiversity Excursions

Age Groups: 0-7

Grant Name: 2022 Victorian Junior Landcare and Biodiversity Grants

School: Yarra Glen Preschool Association Inc.

Grant Sponsor: Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action

Project Overview

It’s never too early to learn about our impact on land, water and other natural resources – and what we can do to maintain, preserve and protect the natural environment. That’s why Yarra Glen Preschool Association Inc. sought to set up regular nature kinder sessions for both their 3/4-year-old and 4/5-year-old groups to explore the topic of biodiversity within their preschool and local community.

As a starting point for their ‘Nature Preschool Initiative’, the preschool engaged Eco Explorers to provide fortnightly excursions for both groups to gain more knowledge of the natural world around them and encourage ways of connecting with the environment through open-ended free play.

“We want to empower children to be aware of their surroundings and what we can do to preserve and protect our natural world,” shared the preschool. “We are wanting to further explore and instil in the children a sense of community and how as a group we can share the information we have learnt within our local community.”

Educational Outcomes

Each fortnight, the children explored a different topic whilst out on excursion to nearby Sugarloaf Reservoir. These topics focused on connecting to and caring for the land, wildlife awareness, sustainable practices, First Nations people and biodiversity.

Following each two-hour excursion session, educators spent time reflecting with the group on the information they had learnt and how they could further implement this information into their programs and preschool surroundings.

By allowing children to step out their comfort zone and take on new challenges – such as using natural materials such as stones, leaves, branches to make swings etc. to initiate play – the initiative has also given the children an enhanced respect for the natural world around them.

“This program has broadened the children's own knowledge and experience of the natural environment and the sorts of impact humans have on the environment and how we can take individual or collaborative approaches to care for the environment as a whole. This program has also allowed us to embed First Nations culture into our program and enhance the children's general well-being as their creative learning environment of natural elements enhances immunity, mood and movement.”

Environmental Outcomes

Using knowledge gained about local wildlife from their excursion sessions, the preschool will be setting up animal habitats and engaging children in planting at the preschool.

The preschool will also be working with Parks Victoria to set up an appropriate site for their nature kinder program to ensure their impact on the land is minimal and contributes to protecting/enhancing their local environment.


"This is the BEST DAY EVER!" shared three-year-old Heath about one of the preschool’s fortnightly excursions.

Not only has this special project helped to enhance the children's understanding and appreciation of local flora and fauna, it has also challenged them to conceive of new ways of thinking about how we engage with the local environment. For example, one of the favourite parts for the four-year-old group was a session about crafting a natural swing using tree branches.

“The children were able to see how an environment that was free from traditional playground and plastic play equipment was able to be just as much fun and provide so many more opportunities for creative play,” shared the preschool.