Aberdeen Preschool discusses inclusive environments, natural elements and community
The Sector > Provider > General News > Aberdeen Preschool discusses inclusive environments, natural elements and community

Aberdeen Preschool discusses inclusive environments, natural elements and community

by Freya Lucas

September 29, 2022

New South Wales based Aberdeen Preschool has a focus on inclusive physical environments developed with natural elements and community support for the children in its care. 


The service recently spoke with the NSW Department of Education to share more about their practice and pedagogy. An extract of the conversation appears below. To read the full version please see here


Located on Wanaruah Country, Aberdeen Preschool engages with the local community and natural surroundings to create physical environments that make children feel safe and secure.


Sharon Jordan is the nominated supervisor of the service, and has worked there for 21 years. 


“We get so much family and community support, allowing us to enhance and make the most of our physical environment, through donations of materials and people’s time,” she shared, saying that every educator at the service is passionate about the physical spaces, not only for the children and families, but for community and visitors as well.


“For example, we have been fortunate enough to get lots of donations of utensils such as pots, pans, teapots and plates for our sand pit and mud kitchen, not only from families but the wider community as well.”


One parent made a sink with wooden crates, and another donated an oven, allowing children to use real life materials in the space. 


As part of the service philosophy, educators at Aberdeen Preschool incorporate the natural environment into both their indoor and outdoor spaces as much as possible, encouraging children to build connections with their environments.


A large range of natural materials are available for the children to use in their play in both the indoor and outdoor spaces. 


In 2021 the service was successful in obtaining a Department of Education Community Grant which was used to put a wooden deck around an established tree in the playground making the outdoor space more enticing. 


The children and educators will frequently gather under the tree to eat, engage in arts and crafts, and spend time outside. 


“We’ve been able to see the significant benefits to our children who regularly participate in these outdoor rich environments and engage with nature,” Ms Jordan said. 


Stewardship of the environment is also a priority at Aberdeen, with the children helping with gardening, caring for the preschool’s chickens and cleaning up after themselves.


“We have regular conversations with the children about caring for our environment, and have a very passionate sustainability educator who manages our gardening and sustainability practices.”


“Everything that we’ve developed over the years supports our philosophy of caring for our environment and bringing that home-like environment into the preschool,” Ms Jordan said in closing.


More information about Aberdeen Preschool is available here

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