Programs - Developmental Play



At Alvie Consolidated School, we believe in the importance of having children engage in self-directed developmental play, particularly in the early years.  We also recognise the value of offering similar programs, particularly outdoors, for middle and upper-year’s students.

Learning through play is a term used in education and psychology to describe how a child can learn to make sense of the world around them. Through play, children can develop social and cognitive skills, mature emotionally, and gain the self-confidence required to engage in new experiences and environments.

In child-directed play, conditions more so than in more formal, teacher-directed settings, studies have found students engage more in effective problem-solving behaviours. Child-directed play with peers highlights as an important endeavour for children to develop social and emotional competencies, such as leading and following rules, resolving conflicts, and supporting the emotional well-being of others. Providing children with opportunities to negotiate and follow rules during play connects to the development of self-regulation skills.


Bush Play at Alvie Consolidated School is a student led developmental play program.  We are very lucky at our school to have over 5 acres of dedicated bush play space.   During Term 1, Grades Prep – 2 students spend up to 6 hours per week engaged in Bush Play.  By Term 4, children engage in the program 3-4 hours per week.

What does it look like?

·       We go out in all whether conditions, except high wind.

·      We supply children with tough waterproof clothing, worn over their uniforms during wet weather.  Families will need to supply gumboots. 

·     A minimum of two staff supervise to ensure children engage in safe play.  This includes both physical and psychological safety.

·       Children will safely; climb trees; make cubbies; make mudslides; explore the wetlands; explore and observe creatures; engage in imaginative play; and whatever else they think of. 

·       Sometimes in the right conditions, we may closely supervise the lighting of small fires to cook food or just to stay warm.

·       Children may also choose to join with adults in activities such as; planting native trees; collecting seeds; helping with seed propagation; veggie gardening; watering; and building projects such as making nesting boxes.   

·       At the end of the session, children pack up, so our groundsman is still able to mow.

·       If children are muddy and wet, we often hose them down in their waterproof clothing and then remove the clothing for washing by school staff.

·       When older children engage in the Bush Play area, it is more likely that they choose to participate or lead specific projects.