Country Kids Childcare offers alternative Forest Friends Playgroup

Georgina Zadelj (right), with mothers and children, during a Forest Friends Nature Playgroup session, enjoy the outdoor environment.

AWARD-winning Country Care Childcare, run by Georgina Zadelj, who has been operating in the Cassowary Coast region for 14 years, is now offering an alternative playgroup designed to get children back outside playing. 

Zadelj is the only qualified Forest School Leader in the Cassowary Coast region and Official Nature Play Queensland Education Provider, with 20 years of professional experience in Early Childhood.

Normally, three to five families participate in each Forest Friends Nature Playgroup session on Mondays and Wednesdays at O’Connor Drive, Garradunga. 

Adults, together with their children, can actively participate in nature play, through child-led play activities, sensory experiences, music, story, forest bathing, meditation, nature exploration, and gaining self-empowerment through risk taking opportunities.

“One of the best lessons children can be taught in their early years is to play outdoors. For children, play is learning, and there is no better space for kids to learn than outdoors and in nature.”

Country Kids Childcare’s Forest Garden Program supports children being left to their own devices, while Educators supervise from a distance. 

“We love to follow the theory of ‘Circle of Security-Hands Holding Hands’ program and provide a secure base for children in our forest school environment.” 

“Our playgroup is designed to meet the ever-growing movement of parents wanting to increase their children’s learning through nature play.”

Nature play significantly improves all aspects of child development, including physical, cognitive, social, and emotional. 

Playing outdoors grows resilience, self-confidence, initiative, creativity, and more. 

Country Care Childcare is one of 1,609 Australian primary schools and early childhood learning centres, which have been successful in securing a Woolworths Junior Landcare Grant.

The aim of the project is to revegetate a natural area of our service, planting native flora to encourage native wildlife, butterflies, bees, birds, and insects to inhabit there. 

Improvements will be made to the soil as it is red dirt once used as cane fields and add a native beehive to encourage bees to pollinate the native plants. 

The children will be involved in the preparation and planting of the flora onsite, watering the plants and spreading mulch around them to conserve moisture. 

With guidance from an Environmental/Soil Scientist and Forester, they will be testing the soil, adding nutrients, as well as monitoring growth and recording any fauna activity to the site. 

The expected (environmental and educational) outcomes of the project include, studying the life cycles of flora and fauna, and the connection between them in eco systems. 

Two free Open Days will be held at Country Care Childcare at O’Connor Drive, Garradunga on Monday, July 12 and Wednesday, July 14 from 9.00am – 11.30am.

Further information can be found by visiting Country Kids Childcare ‘Naturally Fun’ Facebook page, and bookings can be made via www.countrykidschildcarenaturallyfun.com.

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