Best play/nature-based schools & early years centres in Qld

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 Qld 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:

Blog post image: Saint John The Baptist School, Gladstone.

Bauer Street Community Children Centre – Southport

  • Amazing centre. Super professional and caring. My son is thriving. Child centred learning and the program is based on current evidence in child development and education.
  • Our favourite and is so fantastic for building confident and inquisitive minds. Attention on individual needs and development of each child.

Bayside Early Learners – Hervey Bay

  • 100%play and all about having a childhood. Huge emphasis on nature play with our Bush Kindy program.

Birali Steiner school – Moreton Bay

  • Recommended

Borilla Community Kindergarten – Emerald

  • Director and staff are passionate about play based learning.

Brisbane Independent School (Kenmore) – Pinjarra Hills

  • Unique approach to primary schooling, unlike the majority of mainstream schools.
  • All Primary school should be like this
  • Recommended

Broadbeach Kindergarten (Lady Gowrie) – Broadbeach

  • The ladies have been working for over 20 years together … a true testament to their strength together. Ocean warriors program. Truly grateful. Kids climb trees, solve their own problems and visit the beach.
  • So good. Fun learning through play
  • Absolutely inedible for our family
  • Educators so caring and nurturing. Gret transition from home to schooling life. Ocean Warrior program to learn about marine life, the ocean, weekly excursions.
  • Amazing play based and nurturing start to education. Explore and engage with the world. Take risks in a safe environment.
  • Truly outstanding. Whole family loved it from day one.
  • Beautiful location with amazing climbing trees. Blessed to have such a passionate community kindergarten

Broadbeach State School – Broadbeach

  • I believe that kids have a step above the rest when entering primary school

Broadbeach Waters Kindergarten – Broadbeach Waters

  • This kindy has a holistic approach with lots of cultural and nature based play. Their regular Nature Days are the Best. Learning evolves from kid’s own experiences and interests. Values like community awareness and caring for the world around them are introduced. Amazing place. So grateful.
  • I can’t speak highly enough of the joy it brings my family. Passionate and loving educators.
  • Incredible start to young children’s learning and relationships.
  • The staff are lovely and very caring.

C& K Arana Hills Community Kindergarten – Everton Hills

  • Absolutely beautiful play base environment. Cannot speak highly of the staff and the beautiful centre. Very outdoor based with kitchen gardens and chooks. Cohesive and supportive team. I absolutely love this kindy
  • We love Arana Hills.

C&K Yuingi Community Child Care Centre – Oxley

  • The outdoor playground is amazing.

C&K Banyo Community Kindergarten – Banyo

  • So much space for the children to play in. Teachers absolutely wonderful. I cannot speak highly enough of kindy program. Wonderful place to transition into prep

C&K Canungra Community Kindergarten – Canungra

  • Cannot recommend this centre enough. Thankful. Staff genuinely enjoy their job and work towards new ideas with the children. They visit the community garden, relax and do yoga under the trees, grow food, native bees, worm farm.

C&K Everton Park Kindergarten – Everton Park

  • Fabulous Kindy. Offer a five-day fortnight. Community kindy in every sense of the word. Beautiful staff, parents and children. Such a sense of belonging

C&K Indooroopilly Kindergarten – Indooroopilly

  • Recommended

C&K Kenmore West Kindergarten and Preschool – Kenmore

  • Recommended

C&K Norman Park Preschool and Kindergarten – Norman Park

  • Nature play kindy. Real grass.

C&K Paddington Community Kindergarten and Preschool – Paddington

  • Recommended

Caboolture Montessori School – Caboolture

  • Wonderful a truly inspirational environment

Camp Hill State Infants and Primary School – Camp Hill

  • Great play based learning program.

Chapel Hill Community Kindergarten – Chapel Hill

  • Fantastic play based learning and environment. Bush kindy as well. Visit to national park.

Chevallum State School – Chevallum

  • Play base learning. Singing, dancing, climbing, swinging, jumping. Couldn’t ask for a better school
  • Without a doubt is amazing. Let the kids play….
  • Incredible program of play based learning and ‘thinking play’. Children display high levels of leadership and thinking outside the box.
  • Play based learning ‘thinking play’.
  • Brilliant, vibrant, inspiring and humorous
  • Recommended

Clayfield College – Brisbane

  • Fantastic Pre-Prep program. Amazing. A beautiful transition to Prep

Cooloon Children’s centre – Tweed Heads

  • Amazing

Cooroy Community Kindergarten – Cooroy

  • Program is beautifully pace, full of play and exploration. Whole hearted play based teaching
  • We love it here, so happy with their program
  • Recommended

Currimundi Community Kindergarten (Lady Gowrie) – Currimundi

  • It’s amazing
  • Recommended

Eskay Kids Mayfield Nature Kindergarten – Wanora

  • Recommended

Faith Lutheran Kindergarten – Victoria Point

  • Fantastic for play based learning
  • Amazing bunch of teachers

Fingerprints Steiner Children’s Centre – Gold Coast

  • Recommended

Holland Park Creche and Family Centre – Brisbane

  • Supportive environment for parents. Play based learning. Teachers extremely experienced and passionate.

Ipswich Kindergarten – Ipswich

Karana Early Education Centre – Karana Downs

  • Recently won Qld Early Childhood Service of the year. Fully paly based program with strong emphasis on connecting with nature

Kimberly College – Carbrook

  • Recommended

Lawnton State School – Lawton

  • Recommended

Little Saints Early Learning Centre – Peregian Springs

  • Recommended

Memorial Park Community Kindergarten – Maroochydore

  • Recommended

Milford Lodge Child Care – Buderim

  • Recommended

Mitchelton Pre-Schooling Centre – Mitchelton

  • Amazing educators, very much outdoor play based, love it.

Mount Nebo State School – Mount Nebo

  • Forest school curriculum and really small school (30 Kids) which means a very caring and personal approach.
  • As well as traditional learning, all students prep-6 get to go into the forest surrounding the school and do their learning using thing nature provides

Natural Beginnings Childcare – South Cairns

  • Amazing educators, beautiful setting with natural environments. Lots of excursions, transition programs, connections with wider community.
  • Absolutely amazing.

Nursery Road State Special School – Holland Park

  • Great play based learning program.

Peregian Beach Community Kindergarten – Peregian Beach

  • Wonderful start for children. Staff incredibly committed to play based learng and this shines through.

Rainbow Bridge Family Day Care – Lower Beechmont

  • Their educators are amazing

Rainbow Valley Early Learning Centre – Gladstone

  • Recommended

Samford Valley Steiner school – Samford Valley

  • Recommended

Silkwood Independent School – Mt Nathan

  • Play based prep
  • Your best bet. Structured but no sight words, no homework, or mountains of worksheets. Strong focus on building friendships, social, emotion., physical development. Rich imaginative play, oral storytelling, nature paly.
  • Close to the best school in all of Australia
  • Trumps them all.
  • recommended

St Andrews Anglican College – Peregian Springs

  • Wonderful play based set up from kindy through to year 3.
  • Recommended

St Augustine’s – Currumbin Waters

  • Keeping the paly in prep. Getting great results.

St Johns the Baptist Catholic School – Gladstone

  • Amazing play based learning programs. Nature playgrounds and wonderfully committed and caring teachers
  • Such a beautiful school. Wonderful hands on play based learning.
  • The power of play.
  • Recommended
  • Good stuff

St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School – Biloela

  • Passionate devoted Prep teacher

St Pauls Lutheran Early Learning Centre – Townsville

  • Nature play, mixed age play.

Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School– Gladstone

  • Amazing play based prep

Tannum Sands Kindergarten – Tannum Sands

  • Amazing kindy located right near the beach. Strong focus on the natural environment and creative expression.

The School of Total Education – Warwick

  • Recommended

Trinity Beach Community Kindergarten – Cairns

  • The director is absolutely passionate about creating the most wonderful space for all children and parents. Bush kindy component. Outstanding.
  • Absolutely amazing child focused director.

Twin Towns Kindergarten (Lady Gowrie) – Coolangatta

  • Brilliant
  • Completely play based and playground is state-of-the-art. Creativity and play is child led. Freedom to explore emotions, textures and the world in general is positively encouraged. Truly nurturing progressive fun kindy.
  • Great play based leaning and great nature adventures.
  • Recommended

Upper Mt Gravatt Kindergarten (Lady Gowrie) – Brisbane

  • The teachers are fantastic – play based and child led. Just starting forest program – exploring the local bushland.

Woombye State School – Sunshine Coast

  • Awesome Prep program. All classes utilise play based learning.

YMCA Childcare – Strathpine Childcare – Strathpine

  • The staff are so caring. Integrate your child’s interests into their learning. All-natural outdoor play area. Can’t speak highly enough of the personal care.