Parent Information Handbook 2022

WHY:
The Department of Education and Training recognises a mounting body of evidence that outdoor activities, such as exploring natural environments, are beneficial to children and contribute to improving their health and wellbeing.  
At Langwarrin Park Preschool we are excited to incorporate a bush kinder program to support  our children to engage and explore in a natural setting.  We understand that the benefits for children include significant gains in personal, social and emotional development (Olsteed 2008).  It also supports children to develop responsibility for themselves and others, increases resilience and encourages appropriate risk taking.
Our national curriculum ‘Belonging, Being & Becoming’ recognizes that children need to be connected with and contribute to their world and the National Quality Standards identify the need to build connections with our local community.  
Research tells us that children who spend more time outdoors in nature and happier, healthier, stronger, smarter and more social (White 2004). 
We know that children are natural learners and at bush kinder your child will have the time and space to learn in in the bush using what nature has provided as learning materials.  

STAFF:
There will be 3 staff members in attendance at all times – Chermeine, Amy & Adele.  In addition to our staff members we will also require a minimum of 2 parent helpers each session.  We will be organising and distributing a Parent Helper Roster prior to the beginning of each term.  Parent helpers will remain under the direct supervision of a staff member at all times throughout the sessions.   If you are unable to attend on your rostered day, it will be your responsibility to organise a swap with another parent.  If we do not have 2 Parent Helpers we will need to cancel our bush kinder session.

PARTICIPATION:
Prior to participation in this program, parents/guardians must complete and return a Regular Outing Permission Form for their child/children.

ATTENDANCE:
Our bush kinder sessions will operate every Thursday from 12.15pm – 4.15pm during Terms 2, 3 and 4.  It is expected that all children will attend and participate in the bush kinder program on a regular basis. Families will sign their children in and out of the bush kinder program, just as they would for a normal kinder session. Parent helpers will sign in the visitors register, just as they would for a normal kinder session. If your child is unwell they should not attend the bush kinder program, just like a normal kinder session.

COMMUNICATION:
The following contact numbers will be relevant during the bush kinder session:

NAMEEMAILPHONE
Chermeinechermeine@langwarrinparkpreschool.com.au0423570475
Amylangwarrin.park.kin@kindergarten.vic.gov.au
Amandalangwarrin.park.kin@kindergarten.vic.gov.au
Langwarrin Park
Preschool Bush Kinder Mobile
TBA
Cranbourne
Botanical Gardens
rbgc@rbg.vic.gov.au5990 2200

FEES:
Bush kinder is incorporated into the existing fee structure at Langwarrin Park Preschool.   Fees are paid in accordance with our Fees Policy.

COLLECTION OF CHILDREN:
Parents/guardians are required to be at the Bush Kinder site on time for the collection of their child/children.  Late collection fees apply if parents/guardians arrive late for the collection of their child/children, just as they would be for a normal kinder session, in accordance with our Delivery and Collection of Children Policy.

CANCELLATION OF SESSIONS:
Bush kinder sessions may be cancelled prior to the beginning of our session, or at short notice throughout a session in the following circumstances:

REASONNOTIFICATIONCONTACT PERSON
Multiple staff absencesText, Facebook PageStaff
Forecast Extreme WeatherText, Facebook PageStaff
Sudden Extreme WeatherText, Facebook PageStaff
Emergency EvacuationText, Facebook PageStaff
Advice from Cranbourne Botanical Gardens StaffText, Facebook PageStaff
No Parent HelperText, Facebook PageStaff

MULTIPLE STAFF ABSENCES:  
If one staff member is absent a suitable and qualified relief staff member will be employed and our bush kinder program will operate as normal.  If multiple staff members are absent our bush kinder program will be cancelled for that day.  Families will be informed by 10am (where possible) via a text message & via our Red Ladybug Facebook page and normal kinder sessions will be run from our home kinder site @ Langwarrin Park Preschool, Cnr Burgess Drive & Northgateway Langwarrin. 

EXTREME WEATHER:
Staff will be responsible for checking the weather forecast obtained from the Bureau of Meteorology on the morning of each bush kinder session.  A decision will be made by 10am (where possible) whether a session needs to be cancelled due to forecast extreme weather.  Families will be informed via a text message and via our Red Ladybugs Facebook Page if a bush kinder session will be cancelled.  In the event of our bush kinder session being cancelled, normal kinder sessions will be run from our home kinder site @ Langwarrin Park Preschool, Cnr Burgess Drive & Northgateway, Langwarrin.  
In the event of sudden extreme weather, families will be informed via a text message and via our Red Ladybugs Facebook Page that our session needs to be cancelled and normal kinder session will resume from our home kinder site @ Langwarrin Park Preschool, Cnr Burgess Drive & Northgateway, Langwarrin.

EMERGENCY EVACUATIONS:
Staff will listen and respond to advice from emergency services personnel in the event of an evacuation.  Families will be informed via a text and via our Red Ladybug Facebook page in the event on an emergency evacuation.

NO PARENT HELPER:

For the safety and wellbeing of our Red Ladybugs it is essential that we have 2 parent helpers every session.  If we do not have 2 parent helpers our bush kinder session will be cancelled. Families will be informed via a text message and via our Red Ladybugs Facebook Page in the event thatour session needs to be cancelled and normal kinder session will resume from our home kinder site @ Langwarrin Park Preschool, Cnr Burgess Drive & Northgateway, Langwarrin.

CLOTHING:  
Parents/guardians are required to determine appropriate clothing based on the weather forecast for each bush kinder session.  
Children will be unable to attend a bush kinder session if they arrive with inappropriate clothing. 
All children must wear:
•Enclosed footwear.  Thongs, sandals, crocs and other footwear that is not enclosed will be deemed inappropriate.
•Broad rimmed sunhat in accordance with our Sun Protection Policy.  A broad rimmed sunhat is required to be worn at all times from 1stSeptember until 30th April.
•30+ sunscreen in accordance with our Sun Protection Policy.  It is assumed that all children will arrive at the bush kinder session with sunscreen already applied.
•Long pants are essential even on hot days, as they prevent sunburn, bites, scratches and stings.
•Long sleeve tops are recommended even on hot days, as they prevent sunburn, bites, scratches and stings.

• The preschool will provide each child with a puddlesuit to wear in wet weather.  This clothing remains the property of Langwarrin Park Preschool but will remain with the child for the duration of the year. Children must bring this puddlesuit in their kinder bag to every bush kinder session regardless of weather.  If a child does not have their puddlesuit in their bag they will not be permitted to participate in the bush kinder session.   Families will sign an undertaking at the commencement of bush kinder to take good care of this garment and to return it at the conclusion of the year in good repair.  If this garment is not returned or is not in good repair (normal wear and tear is acceptable) families will be responsible for the costs of replacement.  If at any time your child’s puddlesuit is damaged, please do not hesitate to speak to the teacher so that we can arrange for a replacement.
•The preschool will provide each child with a safety vest that needs to be worn during every bush kinder session.  These are fluorescent yellow for high visibility and have our kinder telephone number printed on them for identification purposes.  Families will sign an undertaking at the commencement of bush kinder to take good care of this garment and to return it at the conclusion of the year in good repair.  If this garment is not returned or is not in good repair (normal wear and tear is acceptable) families will be responsible for the costs of replacement.
•A waterproof jacket.  Children are to wear their own waterproof jackets in wet weather.  Children must bring their waterproof jacket in their bag to every bush kinder session regardless of weather.  If a child does not have their waterproof jacket in their bag they will not be permitted to participate in the bush kinder session.
•Change of clothes.  All children must have a complete change of clothes in their kinder bags in the event of wet weather or an accident.   Please ensure that all clothes are clearly named.

WHAT TO BRING:
•Water bottle.  Every child needs a named bottle of fresh water for each session.  There will be access to drinking water to supplement this if required.  
•Snack.  We will be having one snack break during our kinder session.  Please be mindful of our Healthy Food Policy when choosing a snack for your child.  All rubbish will be sent home in your child’s lunch box, so please be mindful of this when choosing a snack for your child. 
•Puddlesuit & Waterproof Jacket.  This must be in your child/children’s bag each session regardless of the weather.
•Toys.  We request that NO toys or teddies from home are bought to the bush kinder sessions.  There will be ample natural materials available for your child to engage with.  The staff at Langwarrin Park Preschool accept no responsibility for the safety of toys or teddies from home.

LOCATION:
Our bush kinder program will operate at the Cranbourne Botanical Gardens.  We are very lucky to have access to these gardens and bushlands.  Facilities include bbq areas, playground, toilet facilities, coffee shop, souvenir shop, Australian Gardens, Park Rangers, various walking tracks.  Our bush kinder home base will be situated in the Woodlands Picnic area.  This site has been selected as it gives the children many and varied opportunities to explore throughout the seasons.  It provides clear lines of sign and natural boundaries which can be easily identified.  Throughout the bush kinder program we will explore beyond our bush kinder home base.  On these occasions, families will be notified in advance where possible, and a note will always be left at the bush kinder home base so that families can locate us.  The bush kinder mobile phone will always be carried by a staff member also which will allow us to be located.

The easiest way to access the Cranbourne Botanical Gardens from Langwarrin is via Cranbourne Road.  When you arrive at the big roundabout near Ranfurlie Golf Club you need to take the Ballarto Road exit  (past Donnelly’s Garden Supplies).   At the end of Ballarto Road you will see an access gate on the right hand side accessing the Cranbourne Botanical Gardens car park.  Please note that a portion of Ballarto Road is unsealed.

Our bush kinder site is situated in the Woodlands Picnic Area on the left hand side of the access track.   

TOILETS:
Parents/guardians are requested to encourage your child/children to use the toilet prior to the commencement of the bush kinder session.  Toilets are available close by to the bush kinder home site.  Only staff members will accompany a child/children to the toilets.  

MEDICATIONS:
Parents/guardians of a child/children with allergies or asthma are encouraged to discuss their child/children’s emergency management plans with the teacher prior to the commencement of the bush kinder program.  It is mandatory for the child/children’s medication and Action Plan to be available for use at all times.  In the event that we should leave the bush kinder home site, all mediations and Action Plans will be taken with us.  If your child/children requires other medication to be administered during our bush kinder session families will need to Medication Record in accordance with our Administration of Medication Policy.

TRAINING:
All staff have undertaken a Bush Kinder Induction program at the Cranbourne Botanical Gardens prior to the commencement of the bush kinder program. The children and staff have also undertaken the Responsible Pet Ownership Program and a Snake Awareness Program during Term 1. All staff members have current First Aid qualifications including Asthma and Annaphylaxis in accordance with the National Regulations.

RISK ASSESSMENT:
The staff at Langwarrin Park Preschool in conjunction with the Committee of Management have undertaken an extensive Risk Assessment.  This document is a requirement for all excursions.  Throughout the course of the program we will revisit this document to ensure that it meets our current needs and risk assessment will be an embedded, ongoing and continual part of our bush kinder program.  If any family wishes to read our Risk Assessment please ask staff for a copy.  If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to speak to a staff member.  
In the event of an emergency, staff from Langwarrin Park Preschool will be guided by Cranbourne Botanical Gardens Rangers and members from the Police, Ambulance and Fire Departments.