As referred by followers on Maggie Dent’s Facebook page September 2017
A summary of people’s comments are listed in bullet points under school names.
Disclaimer: Please note that this list is compiled from comments made by Facebook followers. It is not the opinion of Maggie Dent or her employees, nor are these recommendations to be considered formal endorsements by Maggie Dent. When deciding which school is best for your child, it is important to make your decision based on your individual child – there is no one-size fits all.
However we asked our 100,000+ Facebook followers “Which schools in WA have you observed have a focus on:
* play-based learning in the early years, and / or
* strong nature-based focus in their teaching and learning…”
Here’s what they said:
Alkimos Primary School – Alkimos
- Son has flourished. Therapy team, gardening club. Fits all learning
Amelia Street Early Learning Centre, daycare (formerly Climb Westminster)
- Reggio Emilia based approach with a beautiful backyard with a mix of nature play and traditional equipment.
Amare Child Care Centre– Bassendean
- New nature playground. Stones, dry creek bed, natural materials and lots of interesting areas. Hens and baby chickens
Annie’s Playschool – Mount Claremont
- We love it. Learning through play
Armadale Primary School – Armadale
- Little school nestled into nature.
Bannister Creek Primary School – Lynwood
- The students make cubbies in the bush. Nature play in the Early Childhood area and an Aboriginal garden.
Banksia Montessori School – Dianella
- Kids never idle and bored. Wonderful little preschool
Bayswater Primary School
- Awesome Imaginative Playground
Beaumaris Primary School – Ocean Reed
- Especially Mrs G in kindergarten
- Incredible when we went there
- Great school
- Amazing play-based learning
- Teachers are amazing and have fabulous ideas and spend a lot of time getting to know the children
- Fantastic example of a school where the entire community works together. Fantastic play area based on nature play concept. Strong leadership
Beldon Primary School – Beldon
- Big nature play and awesome veggie patch
Blue Gum Montessori
- Leading Independent School that develops confident, independent, community-minded children, inspired to life-long love of learning.
Bold Park Community School – Wembley
- Love Bold Park
- Their direction is wonderful
- Truly inspiring place
Booragoon Occasional Child Care Centre – Booragoon
- Outdoor area is absolutely beautiful and the educators very caring
Byford Community Kindergarten – Byford
- The best
Canning Vale Pre-Kindy – Canning Vale
- Community base service that is all about play. Flow between indoor and beautiful natural outdoor
Careforkids Day-care – Mosman Park
- Awesome day-care which has a beautiful nature based playground. My little absolutely loves it there and her teachers
Carmel School – Dianella
- Walker Learning approach in Kindy, PP and year 1. Play based learning and fantastic outdoor areas – elaborate mud kitchen, nature playground and ever changing loose parts. Worm farm, nature walks and tree climbing
Carmel Adventist College – Bickley
- Lots of play based and nature based learning. Beautiful hills environment.
Casa Mia Montessori Community School – Bassendean
- Best climbing tree. Dedicated staff, nature and loose play, Montessori materials the support development of whole child
Chapman Valley Primary School – Chapman Valley
- Amazing ethos, awesome approach to nature based play. Fantastic staff. Brilliant tiny school
Child Side School – Boyanup
- Play based. Love it
- Child Side is amazing
Children’s Garden – Melville
- It is only up to kindy age, but BRILLIANT, caring, long-term staff, mixed ages, kid-led activities, and fantastic nature space outside. Lovely and small too.
Chrysalis Montessori – Glendalough
- Great school
Como Children Day Care
- Best day care ever
- Couldn’t be happier. Beautiful garden, veggie patch, trees, art studio, music studio and home cooked meals
- Reggio Emilia and Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences
Compass Early Learning Centre – Merriwa
- Beautiful nurturing philosophy
College Community Childcare – Bunbury
- Strong focus on nature based learning. Playground has wooden features, fish, fruit tree, water play and edible garden
Connolly Primary School – Connolly
- Nature play space. Outdoor play investigations. Play based approach
Cottesloe Primary School
- So much to celebrate at this independent school – Maggie Dent
Craigie Childcare Centre – Craigie
- Small centre. Always visiting local parks and community spaces.
- Staff are amazing
Curtin Primary School – Manning
- Fantastic play based program for early years. Gorgeous, friendly, small school with nature playground on the way
Curtin University Childcare
- Amazing sensory garden and the kids do loads of art.
Darlington Primary School – Darlington
- Play based learning. Nature based, risk taking play. Literacy and numeracy programs far and beyond others
Dardanup Primary School – blog post image is taken from Dardanup
- Beautiful nature playground.
Dardanup Primary School
- Fabulous nature play spaces for ECEC – so much to love with children playing freely surrounded by amazing dedicated staff … our kids love this place and can’t wait to get there every day!
Dianella Primary College – Dianella
- Very big on play based learning and have amazing outdoor spaces
Dunsborough Cornerstone – 3 hours south of Perth
- Beautiful bush setting
Early Learning Programme – Tranby College.
- The Kindy and Pre-Primary programmes are play-based and much of the learning is through investigation and discovery.
East Victoria Park Primary School – East Victoria Park
- Wonderful new nature play area. So, impressed with the ECE staff
Eco Early Learning & Bush Kinder – Langford Campus
- Family owned Childcare located in Langford. Our Reggio inspired space will be a welcoming place for your family.
Edgewater Primary School – Perth
- Awesome nature playground
Edney Primary School – High Wycombe
- Best move we could have made
Empowered Avenue – Leda
- Home-based alternative to school for preschool and home school ages. Montessori based. Set outside. Learn through doing.
Eton Farm Education – Serpentine
- This amazing little place is semi-rural and hands on, play based education.
Frederick Irwin Anglican School – Mandurah
- Walker learning program
- Play based learning and its changed my little man’s whole attitude to school and learning. Great environment for active boy
Fremantle Early Learning Centre – Fremantle
- High quality play based learning. Truly inspiring. Beautiful and natural outdoor areas. I love this place
- Ethos – Nature, Nurture, Belong
Geographe Primary School – Busselton
- Walker Learning program. Nature playground
- Helped our very active child who generally struggles with learning and sitting still
Geraldton Grammar School – Geraldton
- Bush kindy. Walker approach
Golden Hill Steiner School – Denmark
- Play based learning. Great school as an alternative to main stream
- Great example
Good Shepard Catholic Primary – Kelmscott
- Walker Learning approach. Brilliant nature based playground. Big bush block
Goodstart Early Learning Centre – Port Kennedy
- has upgraded their outdoor environments, which are now natural and purposefully built. They provide many opportunities for children to connect with nature.
Goollelal Primary School – Kingsley
Gooseberry Primary School – Perth hills
- Backs up onto thousands of hectares of nature reserve. Huge nature play or bush play.
- This school rocks outdoors and indoors
Hammond Park Catholic School – Hammond Park
- Two outdoor classrooms. Bush play
- Play based learning. Bush Ply program. Imaginative and messy play in wellie boots and raincoats. Kids love it and learn how to respect and care for their environment
Hawker Park Primary School – Warwick
- Amazing with a nature focus and play based
Hazel Orme Community kindergarten – White Gum Valley
- Wonderful beginning to schooling. Old fashioned, cosy dress up corner, big old wooden doll house, lots of outside play, daily fruit, singing and colouring in. Just magic.
Helena College – Glen Forrest
Helena River Steiner School – Midland
- I can absolutely recommend Helena River Steiner School. Beautiful teachers, volunteers, friends, family and students who all work together in such a kind and inclusive.
Hensman Street Kindergarten – South Perth
Heritage College – Perth
- Wonderful play based and nature focused learning environments
Hillarys Community Kindergarten – Hillarys
- My son had the best start to his education. Learning through play everyday
- Love this kindy and the teachers
- Amazing team. Highly recommend
- Wonderful kindy
Hillside Christian College – Forrestfield
- Nature playground and outdoor physical structures in high school
Hocking Primary School – Perth
- Brand new nature playground for the early childhood students.
Holy Spirit Primary School – City Beach
- Two nature playgrounds, veggie patches, outdoor bean bags, large size games. A commitment to play base learning in all years and a creativity centre to encourage STEAM education subjects before and after school. School holiday programs.
Holy Cross College – Ellenbrook
- Brilliant with both the nature playground and open plan classrooms. Play based learning
- Wonderful school for play based learning. Highly recommend
Huntingdale Primary School – Huntingdale
- Fantastic for play based learning. $40k grant to build nature playground
International School of Western Australia – City Beach
- Nature playground is stunning. For local students as well as international
Iona Presentation College – Mosman Park
- has a beautiful early learning play-based programme. It is Reggio inspired with child led, inquiry-based learning which moves between free indoor/outdoor play all day.
Jack and Jill Child Care Centre – Mandurah
- Wonderful free flow. Multi age group education. Huge outdoor area, real grass, sand and dirt, veggie garden and play based
John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School – Beechboro
- Pre-K & K, Each person will be encouraged to explore their spiritual, intellectual, social, physical and creative capacities.
John Wollaston Anglican Community School – Camillo
- Highly skilled educators who run an amazing play based program. Wonderful nature play spaces
Jolimont Primary School – Jolimont
- Awesome supportive team
- Fantastic, amazing
Joondalup Early Learning Centre – Joondalup
- Natural bush environment and outdoor base philosophy second to none. Award winning centre
Joondalup Early Learning Centre
- This centre is fantastic with nature play spaces and incredible staff committed to building emotional and social wellbeing
- We love the calmness focus that happens here – such caring staff!
Joondalup Education Support Centre – Joondalup
- For children with additional needs. Play based is the way to go
Jump Carey Early Development Services – Harrisdale
- Leading the way in nature play, respect curriculum and play based learning.
Kalamunda Primary School
- Beautiful nature-scape playground and staff dedicated to play based learning we provide a happy, relaxed, nurturing and welcoming environment for our children to grow at their own rate.
Kensington Primary School – Kensington
- Extensive nature base playground built by the fantastic parents and local community
Kerrie’s Place Family Day Care – Butler
- bush to beach pre-kindy program and nature play
Kerry Street Community School – Hamilton Hill
- Incredible energy put in by staff. Play based and so much learning
- Lovely play based school
Kids’ Corner Child Care Centre – Munster
- advocate for natural play-based learning and our philosophy and service goals mirror this.
Kidz Biz Early Learning Centre – Nedlands
- Fantastic play based. Incorporate natural materials and exploration.
- Child led nature play based. Chooks and guinea pigs. Love it
Lance Holt School – Freemantle
- Truly amazing. Children thrived there. Academically couldn’t be happier. Intrinsic learning
- Urban setting but strong nature based learning program – nature walks, beach school, river school, bush school (kids in year 2 and 3 spend one day a week in the bush). So much joy and learning.
- My son with ASD absolutely thrived there and loved every second of bush school
Leschenault Catholic Primary School – Australind
- Teaches with walker approach. Great nature based playground
Leaning Tree Community School – Geraldton
- My kids have thrived there
Leederville Early Learning Centre – Leederville
- Even the baby room had a tank of tadpoles to watch transforming, The babies/toddlers sleep in tents outside. Outdoor garden, and cubby house, waterplay, jelly play, excursions. Visitors such as snake handler.
Liwara Catholic Primary – Greenwood
- Great nature play areas for each age group and more planned.
Little Learners Childcare – White Gum Valley
- My son loves it. Lovely outdoor area. Explore and try things out
- Excellent out door area. Weather permitting, they sleep outside
Lockridge Primary School – Lockridge
- Play based learning
Maida Vale Primary School – Maida Vale
- Awesome principal and great teachers.
- -Natural bush playground
Marangaroo Family Centre – Perth
- Lovely and caring staff and great inclusive atmosphere
Margaret River Independent School – Forest Grove
- Play based learning approach, lots of bush learning in our frog bog and Nyindamurra Nature Trail. 3-year-old Little Indies program – bush playgroup. Learning about nature and indigenous culture
Marjorie Mann Day Care – Lawley
- Care, love and inspired education
- Amazing centre
- Great reputation in the community. Inspired by Reggio Emilia
Marmion Avenue Community Care – Carine
McDougall Park Community Kindergarten – Como
- Gorgeous place
- Play based with amazing teachers.
- Beautiful, natural environment and amazing teachers who love and value play.
- Educators are amazing. Children excelling both intellectually and socially.
- Fabulous environment for little ones.
- Best play based education centre around
- My child loved his year at McDougall
- The best kindy
- Outdoor time, fun science, mystery room. My son thrived
Millen Primary School – East Victoria Park
- Grow the garden, build cubbies, go on nature walks, dig for worms, and paint pictures of what they have seen. Brilliant
Mindarie Primary School
- Fabulous school with amazing teachers and support staff
- Huge play area with chooks, sandpit, boat and wooden stage
Moerlina School – Mt Claremont
- Wonderful school. Strong academic results while allowing kids to be kids. Play and nature are central. Art, science, social and emotional wellbeing. Kids thriving.
- Gorgeous nurturing environment. Indoor and outdoor play. Bush and beach school
- Teachers pretty amazing
- Jerdacuttup Primary School
- Up to date as any city school. iPad for every child.
Montessori School – Kinsley
- Focus on playing and developing in nature. Bushland. Kids collect seeds, build nesting boxes for micro bats.
- Children free to go outdoors if they wish.
- Love being at this school
Montessori Early Childhood Centre – Merriwa
- 6 weeks to 5 years. My kids love it.
Morwell Street Learning Centre – Yanchep
- Play based learning throughout all the age groups. Natural items and connections to nature. Outdoor play areas are amazing natural spaces.
Mosman Park Kindy/Primary School – Mosman Park
- Put great nature playground in not long ago
Mother Teresa Catholic College – Baldivis
- Walker Learning, nature playground, chooks. Veggie patch, worm farms and beautiful natural surrounding and buildings
Mount Helena Community Kindergarten and Playgroup
- Stong emphasis on play based learning and nature play it is a beautiful alternative to school based kindy.
Mullaloo Community Kindergarten – Mullaloo
- Fantastic start to school. Amazing teachers
- Beautiful caring teachers who put their heart and soul into wonderful play based curriculum
- Beautiful paly area. Well-resourced and established
- Couldn’t speak more highly
- Allows them to investigate their environment
Mundarda Community Day-care – Armadale
- Reggio, non-punitive, play based, nature loving. Loved by all
- Beautiful place. I felt calm and peaceful there
Nature’s Atelier – Busselton
- So many outdoor spaces, set on an acreage, and has pet farm animals to interact with. Created by the founder of Bold Park Community School and nature play expert, Gillian McAuliffe.
Nido Early School, Hocking
- Based on the Reggio Emilia philosophy, beautiful nature playground, nutritious meals and play based learning – plus so much more.
Nollamara Primary School – Nollamara
- Cannot recommend highly enough
Noranda Primary School – Noranda
- Lots of nature play they also have bush wardens club.
North Cottesloe Primary School – Cottesloe
- Commitment to maintaining play base and age appropriate pedagogy. Long periods of indoor and outdoor play. Time to learn and make decisions
- Brilliant program and teachers.
North Fremantle Primary School
- The best alternative style independent school which is tiny, giving it a real community and family feel. Kids flourish there.
Northshore Christian Grammar School – Alkimos
- New school. All play based. Great new outdoor nature play and mud kitchen. Fantastic new science inquiry playground with pulleys, levers, balances. Amazing school
Nurture Through Nature, day-care – Mandurah
- excellence is early childhood education and specialising in authentic Nature play.
O’Connor Play and Learn Childcare – O’Connor
- Awesome huge outdoors area, veggie patch and mud kitchen.
Olive Grove Centre of Early Learning – Gosnells
- Unique setting. All play based with natural materials
Padbury Community Kindergarten – Padbury
- Wonderful play based learning. Holds a special place in our hearts
- Play based and brilliant staff
Peaceful Rooms Montessori Centre – Byford
- Non- school programme for 2.5-6 years, very child led and they’ve just gotten a fence for more outdoor play.
Perth Waldorf School – Bibra Lake
- Beautiful for kids
- The most gorgeous bush environment for children. Magical gardens. Adventure playground. Play is valued for all ages.
- We are so happy
- Sticks, rocks and lots of dirt. Climbing of trees, building of structures, using your imagination, being outside, excursions to the local lakes.
Peter Carnley Anglican Community School – Kwinana
Peter Moyes Anglican Community School – Mindarie
- Absolutely amazing. Mud kitchen, outstanding play areas, inspiring and wonderful teachers. Could not be happier
- Warm, comfortable, natural, non-fussy and loved classrooms. Dedicated to its children’s comfort and interests, likes and dislikes, abilities and needs
- Teachers go that extra mile. Dress ups, play, laugh and love
Pioneer Village Primary School – Armadale
- Early years teachers are great advocates of play based learning. Wonderful classrooms and play space. Nestled in a beautiful little village in the hills
Poseidon Primary School – Heathridge
- Kindy program amazing. Awesome nature playground
Quinn’s Baptist College – Mindarie
- Amazing nature play areas. The kids grow their own vegie/flower gardens. 2 mud kitchens. Big climbing trees, tires, big boulders/rocks to climb on. Mud pay days in Winter. Play focused
Quinns Rock Primary School – Quinns Rock
- Chickens, veggies, mud kitchen, pond.
Quintilian School – Mount Claremont
- Play based learning geared to the individual child. Super amazing teachers, huge adventure playground, chicken run and veggie patch. Cannot say enough good things about this school.
- Kids get excursions to learn all about environment, community and care for each other. Terrific school
Riverblossoms Steiner School – Midvale
Riverland’s Montessori School – Swan Valley
- Lots of nature based playground and outdoor classes.
- Fabulous caring centre – exceptional educators
- Outside area is fabulous and includes gardens and nature play spaces where kids can get messy
Sawyers Valley Primary School – Sawyers Valley
- Strong focus on sustainability with a nature play space in historic pines area. Own wetland and creek. Chooks, worm farm, vegie garden, bandicoots. Great community feel
- A great way to get to know nature and learn about wildlife
Schools of Early Learning – West Leederville, Nedlands, North Perth, Fremantle and soon to be in South Perth
- Amazing play-based centres, so innovative, full of features and beautiful indoor and outdoor settings.
Seaview Community Kindergarten – Cottesloe
- Fabulous teachers. My daughter absolutely loves it. Highly recommend
Serpentine Jarrahdale Grammar School – Mundijong
- Play based learning
- Play based learning. Lots of equipment made with wood, stepping stones, water paly, vege garden, chickens, bush to walk around in, tree climbing, cubbies, fire pit.
Silver Tree Steiner School – Parkerville
- Beautiful for kids
- Beautiful school with an emphasis on holistic education, mind, body and spirit. Natural bush setting with endless nature experiences
- Bush block on 25 acres. Kids play all year round inside and out
South Baptist College
- Big area. Kids love it
Southern Grove Primary School
- We have implemented Walker Learning from K-6 and have a play-based approach across the whole school.
Southern Hills Christian School
- Beautiful school and early learning classes. Set in bush in hills they have lots of play and lots of outdoor fun. I am a foster parent and have children with high special needs and the teachers are just amazing and cater for all their needs.
Spearwood Alternative School – Spearwood
- Awesome grounds, community, programs and teachers
- Connection to environment, positive growth of self and engagement in learning. Dynamic, caring and rich community
Spirit of Play Community School – Denmark
- Great example
Spring Hill Primary School – Tapping
- Mud Kitchens and nature themed play area. Recently had an outdoor learning day and Australian wildlife came to the school. Very happy with the school
Spring Road Community Kindergarten – Kalamunda
- An amazing, supportive community kindy that encourages learning through play.
St Columba’s Primary School – Bayswater
- Amazing team. Extremely fortunate with this school
- Play based learning and nature play. Foster independence and resilience through play. Lots of messy play and fun. Flexible learning environment. Fabulous school
St Damien’s Catholic Primary – Dawesville
- What’s not to love about our school. Play based learning, nature play, healthy eating policy, veggie gardens, chooks, fabulous teachers and great school
St Denis Primary School – Joondanna
- Gorgeous little school with chooks, veggie gardens and an amazing new nature playground complete with old 4WD for those exploring adventures. Great teachers and a great community
St Dominic’s School – Innaloo
- Play based learning. Veggie patch. Great teachers
St Emilie’s Catholic Primary School – Canning Vale
- Amazingly talented and dedicated staff in their kindy.
St Elizabeth Catholic Primary School – Hocking
- Amazing play base environment. Recommend
- Nature play based environment is wonderful. My son is learning so much
St Jerome’s Primary School – Munster
- Amazing play based kindergarten. Nature playground, water pump.
St John Bosco College – Harrisdale
- Best thing we have ever done
St Johns Primary School – Scarborough
- Wonderful, close community with play based learning. Fabulous nature playground
St Luke’s Catholic Primary – Woodvale
- Play based learning. Nature based areas. Flexible classroom environment
- Amazing arts area and meditation room
- Blown away on school tour
- Fantastic school. Absolutely love it
- Highly recommend
St Marks Anglican Community School – Hillarys
- Solid nature and play based grounding
- Play based learning, beautiful learning spaces. Inspiration from the Walker Approach and Riggio Approach
- Wonderful play based learning program. Reggio Emilia and Kathy Walker approach. Create, investigate and explore
St Marys School – Merredin
- So lucky for a small country town
- Love St Marys
St Stephen’s School – Duncraig
- Purpose built early leaning campus which promotes learning through play across curriculum. My boys love it
St Stephen’s Secondary School – Carramar
- Play based for a number of years. Great playground in the kindy area
Subiaco Primary Kindy and Pre-primary
- Wonderful outdoor nature play areas. Let’s not forget public schools who are slowly changing and creating new spaces and replacing old playgrounds.
Swan Christian College Early Learning Centre – Perth
- Passionate about play base learning. Children making choices, engaging with nature, being creative with loose parts.
Tapping Primary School – Tapping
- Legend principle and awesome P&C. Learning initiatives around play
Telethon Speech and Language School – Wembley
- Highly recommend. Play/sensory base and similar to Walker Learning model
- Amazing staff. Twins have come so far
Thornlie Christian College – Southern River
- Play based learning, walker approach allowing students to play create explore and investigate. Incredible teachers
Tiddlywinks Pre-Kindy – Wembley
- Beautiful play based program. Teachers wonderful. Nurturing, educational and beautiful environment
Tiny Beez Education and Care Centre – Claremont
- My son had two wonderful years there
Treasured Tots Early Education – Fremantle and Bibra Lake
- Play based programs and nature playgrounds. Nature brought indoors to build sustainable resources
Treetops Montessori School – Darlington
- Wonderful bush play environment. Whole school nurturing environment where the individual child is central. Happy teenagers.
- Vote for Treetops
- Beautiful bush setting with soon to be finished additional outdoor/nature play initiative
- Parent built nature playground, trees galore, real rocks and lots of bush. Children don’t want to leave. Truly beautiful
- Tree climbing, construction of dams and walls in sand. Excellent school
Tuart Hill Community Kindergarten – Tuart Hill
- Great play based curriculum. Lots of outdoor time
Unicare Early Childhood Education – Nedlands
- Beautiful nurturing philosophy
- ‘Encourage the wonder’ Meet macca the pig, Yazzo the rabbit, chickens, birds and ducks.
Vasse Public School – Busselton
- Implementing the Walker Learning approach. Wonderful school.
- Amazing playground
- Flexible seating in the classroom
Victoria Park Christian School – Victoria
Wallistion Primary School – near Kalamunda
- Proudly play based learning. Walker Learning. Strong focus on outdoor pedagogy and play in bush surrounds
Wanneroo Primary School – Wanneroo
- Nature play, running creek, chickens
West Balcatta Primary School – Balcatta
- Amazing space
- Amazing community project nature space
West Coast Steiner School – Nollamara
- Beautiful for kids
Whitford Family Centre – Hillarys
- Wonderful play based socialisation programme
Woodbury Boston Primary School – Halfway between Albany and Denmark
- Play based, hands on, child led education. Best natural nature playground. Truly fabulous school
Woodland Grove Primary School – Byford
- Huge nature outdoor playground for climbing and running. Outdoor music. Kids play freely through whole school. Bigger kids mix with younger. Brilliant
Yallingup Steiner School – Wildwood Valley
Yanchep Beach Primary School – Yanchep Beach
- Daily bush walks through national park
- Magnificent nature play areas
- Positive steps forward. Lots of nature-based play spaces and flexible learning spaces
Also to all who share the concern of the disappearance of play based learning – please take two minutes to endorse the WA Play Strategy. We need this to have lots of endorsements so the powers that may be listen! https://sites.google.com/site/