Georgina Zadelj runs Country Kids Childcare, a family daycare service which has 22 families on the books with children aged from 10 months through to nine years.
A huge advicate for nature play, Georgina demonstrates how it can be easily integrated into a home or family daycare setting, and how she has successfully utilised many of the Nature Play QLD resources to achieve this.
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CASE STUDY: Increasing Children's Connection To Their Community
"I never used to walk with the kids. We used to do everything in the yard, but now that's changed," says Georgina Zadelj.
Since first introducing the Nature Play QLD Passport to an Amazing Childhood to her family day care two years ago, Georgina has noticed big changes in both herself and the children.
"It's really made me think more outside the square," says Georgina. "It has inspired me a lot, which is obviously going to help the kids."
Children now travel great distances to attend her Country Kids Childcare, with an unprecedented 22 families on the books. Georgina puts this down to the freedom, adventure and fun that the kids have in her care.
"The kids want to come out here, especially the school aged kids, because we have so much fun."
But it's not just Georgina and the children that are benefiting. Georgina regularly prints off resources from the Nature Play QLD website (e.g. Green Time vs. Screen Time Challenge, and age-specific 'Things To Do' lists), which she sends home to the parents, and notes that they are now more conscious of their children's connection with nature too.
In the beginning, Georgina utilised the downloadable resources from the Nature Play QLD website, which she used at her sporting events and during holidays, until one school holidays she acquired pedometers for the kids.
Having ordered the Nature Play QLD Passport to an Amazing Childhood, Georgina assigned the children the passport mission of counting their daily steps.
Before long, Georgina and the children had ventured past her fence line and were exploring the neighbourhood around them.
At first the children tired easily, but their stamina quickly increased.
"The older kids just loved the whole idea that we were going to leave the yard because we had never done that before. In the past if they left the yard they were in trouble," she says.
Georgina says, "Nature Play has really done me a big favour," and has inspired her to actively seek out opportunities to teach her children outside.
Her next challenge is how she can take science lessons outside; something she's hoping can be done at her neighbourhood creek.
"I want to go to the creek now, and I would never have thought to do that before," she says.
Georgina and the children go on regular adventures around the neighbourhood, which she says "has brought so much to the program."
"It's not just about going for a walk! We look at all the numbers on the post, we practice stranger danger, we practice road safety. We get to climb the trees, we collect everything along the way, we get to see the swamp, and we talk about the swamp."
Where to Next?
Georgina now has her sights set on a Nature Play QLD Forest Learning Workshop so she can improve her outdoor teaching techniques, and inspire other educators in her area to do the same. She is planning to apply for a grant through the Family Daycare Australia Excellence Fund, to help facilitate this.