As referred by followers on Maggie Dent’s Facebook page September 2021
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 200,000+ 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:
Alma Street Pre-Prep — Gympie
- Great play based kindy.
Ashgrove Community Kindergarten — Ashgrove
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.
- Still filling children’s days with endless hours of play immersed in nature, with the most spectacular beach and bush settings to explore.
Berrinba East State School — Berrinba
- State Finalist in Outdoor Qld Nature Play Awards. Only one of three approved schools identified as a Nature Play Education provider. Language, play and nature embedded as core pedagogical threads.
Bethania Lutheran Kindergarten — Bethania
- Accredited Nature Play Education Provider, Bush Kindy Program, Multi aged learning through three fluid learning environments. Loose parts. Play based learning, and independent play focus. Rated Exceeding in all Quality Areas.
- They have an amazing bush kindy program which my son loved! They also encourage loose parts play. All of the free play really encouraged the development of creativity in the kids and their creations were really amazing!
Birali Steiner school – Moreton Bay
Birdwings Forest School — Gold Coast Hinterland
- Very unique. All day nature play for littles and bigs. We have programs for 18 months – 10 years exploring creeks, rainforest and bushland on Kombumerri Country, Gold Coast.
- The Educators have tailored a program that is unique, creative and empowering. The children are offered unique experiences to play and grow in their natural environment.
Borilla Community Kindergarten – Emerald
- Director and staff are passionate about play based learning.
The Botanical Collective — Buderim
- An amazing nature based playgroup on the Sunshine Coast.
- Would be the most beautiful addition to this list. Sarah holds space for outdoor baby sensory groups, homeschooling groups and a nature-focussed outdoor play group here on the Sunshine Coast
Bribie Island Community Kindergarten — Bongaree – Woorim
- I came to the comments to tag the best Kindy ever! Narelle and her team of beautiful people were instrumental in giving my non-verbal ASD DSMV3 boy his very best chance to leap into life and they allowed him to be authentically Autistic. They continue to be a very special part of his tribe, even though he now attends school. We’d have been lost and in a very dark place without the support, expertise and genuine love and care from Narelle and her team. Once your Kindy, always your Kindy!
Brisbane Independent School (Kenmore) – Pinjarra Hills
- Unique approach to primary schooling, unlike the majority of mainstream schools.
- All Primary school should be like this
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.
Bunji’s Playgroup @ Norville State School — Norville
- Our playgroup is Nature Play based.
Bush Knowing Forest School — Everton Hills
- Nature craft/tools, Bush Kindy and Bush Playgroup.
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.
- I did my placement to become an Educator at Arana Hills. It’s amazing it was deciding factor for me to work in Kindergaten settings. Beautiful kindergarten.
- One of the lead educators is the president of the bush kindy society (I think that’s the name) and on alternate Wednesday’s she runs a bush/creek visit for the students. The centre is always arranging outdoor and nature based activities for the kids. We’ve loved it.
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 Biloela Kindy — Biloela
- provides a fabulous experience filled with lots of outdoor and indoor free play following each child’s own interests. Kindy and pre-kindy kids catered for. They have commenced a program where older residents visit kindy on a regular basis to interact together. Nothing is too much for the educators at Bilo Kindy!
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.
- A wonderful play-based centre with the most amazing staff. My boys loved creating a creek in the rainforest area during outdoor play. The first time I stepped inside, it took me back to my own kindy days with the wooden blocks, “home” corner and paints/craft. It just has a good “feeling” and we were so fortunate to be part of this amazing community kindy.
C&K Florence Kindergarten — Margate
- This Kindergarten emphasises learning through free play as well as structured play activities. They have a beautiful yard, featuring a large climbing tree as well as veggie patch and native bee hive. My son comes home with stories about the Gubbi Gubbi people, drinking Lemon Myrtle tea, playing Koala rescue service and so much more.
C&K Indooroopilly Kindergarten – Indooroopilly
C&K Jamboree Community Kindergarten — Jamboree Heights
- An amazing start to education for any child. Nurturing, engaging, fun play based centre. Highly recommend
- Can’t speak highly enough of this kindy. The outdoor play area is amazing. They have bush and creek kindy excursions. The play based learning environment means kids thrive while having the best time with their friends and teachers.
- I would back this recommendation too. My big boy is about to complete his second year and my second boy can’t wait. Beautiful place and people. Love, love them!
- Can’t agree more! And they have a bush kindy program!
C&K Jinibara Community Kindergarten — Narangba
C&K Kenmore West Kindergarten and Preschool – Kenmore
C&K Mirambeena Children’s Centre — Toowoomba
Beautiful natural playgrounds with lots of trees, gardens, mud kitchen, veggie patch and chickens. They are outside in all types of weather. They have a Bush Kindy program, focus on loose parts and free play and are rich in indigenous and multicultural experiences. A truly wonderful place.
C&K Norman Park Preschool and Kindergarten – Norman Park
- Nature play kindy. Real grass.
C&K Paddington Community Kindergarten and Preschool – Paddington
C&K Samford — Samford Village
- Beautiful nature play environment with a creek to play in and open space. Play based learning and children have many activities to do with our great outdoors and heritage. Learning lots about our Indigenous culture and even a gorgeous chicken hatching program amongst many other amazing activities, animal shows, theatre productions etc.
C&K Strathpine Community Kindergarten — Strathpine
- Amazing Bush Kindy program. My daughter attended 3 years ago and now my son is attending too. It is absolutely amazing to see the confidence and skills that this Kindy program gives all the children who attend. Watching them grow and develop into independent, confident, caring little humans through being encouraged to explore their surroundings is amazing to see!
- Incredible! They have an amazing Bush Kindy program that my two youngest have absolutely loved! (It hadn’t been implemented when my oldest went through. Our children have been so well prepared for school and the teachers are just adored.
- Bush kindy program that is phenomenal. Both of my daughters have gone through this kindy! Very nature play based and orientated towards children being ready and prepared for the transition to school.
- Bush Kindy, 2 day Young Kindy (3 year olds). Awesome natural space and fabulous teachers.
- Couldn’t agree more!!! Willow has learnt so much from bush Kindy, including; water safety, fire safety and how to safely take risks not to mention the big open natural play space back at the home Kindy.
C&K Wavell Heights — Wavell Heights
- Beautiful centre, amazing outdoor area – natural grass, old school playground, flower garden & herb garden, mud play area, sandpit. Wonderful outdoors undercover area for eating and play too in the hot / wet weather
C&K Western Suburbs Kindergarten — Townsville
- The staff are just wonderful! Lots of play-based learning with books, puzzles, painting, blocks and play dough. And the outside area is amazing! Swings, cubby, mud kitchen, sand pit, old tinnies/boats… Amazing!
C&K Yuingi Community Child Care Centre – Oxley
- The outdoor playground is amazing.
Caboolture Montessori School – Caboolture
- Wonderful a truly inspirational environment
Caloundra Community Kindergarten — Caloundra
- The most beautiful, nurturing kindy I’ve ever seen. They have a huge focus on outdoor learning and exploring the natural world around us
Camp Hill State Infants and Primary School – Camp Hill
- Great play based learning program.
- Loose parts & risky play
Capalaba Kindergarten — Capabala
Carey Lane ELC — Southport
- Has a wonderful outdoor environment including nature play indoors and outdoors. Natural resources and loose parts are included as everyday resources across the centre.
Cashmere Early Learning Centre — Cashmere
- Highly recommend
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
Chiselhurst Kindergarten — Toowoomba
- A truly magical place. 14 year old still misses it.
Clayfield College – Brisbane
- Fantastic Pre-Prep program. Amazing. A beautiful transition to Prep
Clearview Early Learning and Kindergarten — Nerang
- My children have been attending for 6 years. Routinely my 4 year old comes home covered in mud or telling stories played out in the spare parts area. The children have all day bush kindy which is unstructured and play based. Clearview are also a nature play provider for other Educators. There is a strong multicultural focus with everyday use of the local indigenous language.
Cooloon Children’s centre – Tweed Heads
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
Creative Kids — Clontarf
- Common-sense approach loads of love and the owner works at the centre and provides well for the children, staff and parents
Currimundi Community Kindergarten (Lady Gowrie) – Currimundi
- It’s amazing
Eskay Kids — Karana
Eskay Kids Mayfield Nature Kindergarten – Wanora
Faith Lutheran Kindergarten – Victoria Point
- Fantastic for play based learning
- Amazing bunch of teachers
Fingerprints Steiner Children’s Centre – Gold Coast
Fraser Coast Anglican College — Hervey Bay
- Set on just under 64 acres of bushland and is home to a couple of hundred kangaroos and the occasional koala, not to mention the birds, lizards, insects and snakes (I’d rather they weren’t part of the deal but anyhoo). The Koala Kindy have a fabulous Bush Kindy program which adds value to our already outstanding kindergarten and pre kindy programs. Through connecting with nature, children can learn so much. It is the perfect vehicle to encourage the acquisition and development of verbal language and social skills, as well as developing literacy and numeracy. They also become stewards for our planet as they learn about cycles of nature, plants, birds, and animals and how to care from them. It is also a time to learn more about the traditional custodians of the land on which the kindergarten is located, Butchulla country, and to learn appreciation of cultures other than our own.
Freshwater Christian College Kindergarten — Brinsmead
- Loose parts play, nature play play area. Bush Kindy (down by the river – tree climbing and exploring twice a week) in terms 2 and 3 (because it is too wet and hot in the FNQ summer to do it safely). Beautiful teachers. We are not religious but we loved this kindy for our son.
The Hills Montessori — Alexandra Hills
- Beautiful outdoor play spaces, veggie patch, lovely pets, walk to forest school on local nature reserve, lovely focus on diverse cultures; wonderful staff, wonderful families, dirty, tired, happy, happy kids!
Holland Park Creche and Family Centre – Brisbane
- Supportive environment for parents. Play based learning. Teachers extremely experienced and passionate.
Ipswich Kindergarten Association – Ipswich
- A Lady Gowrie kindergarten that for 80 years has been running an amazing play/nature based kindergarten in Ipswich. Set in an expansive outdoor area, children are able to learn, play and define the areas that they are interested. Most of the kids take their shoes off as soon as they arrive and run off to play. Feet on the ground, connecting to the Earth and we even have a climbing tree that they can climb in. The staff go above and beyond to ensure that everyone attending experiences the best and is welcomed. We drive 25 minutes and past many others for our kids to attend here.
Itty Innovators — Gowrie Junction
- An amazing centre. Lots of outdoor activities with lots of trees, a veggie patch, chooks and a creek!! So much more but I’m a one finger typer.
- The staff are just the best and we couldn’t be happier with our beautiful centre.
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
Kidsworld — Gilston
Kimberly College – Carbrook
Lawnton State School – Lawton
Little Saints Early Learning Centre – Peregian Springs
Mango Hill Early Learning — Mango Hill
- The centre and staff are amazing, the learning environment really stimulates little and big minds. With lots of outdoor play, learning space resources and brilliant, happy staff. They even have reptiles, birds and chickens for the children to touch and learn about!
- 10/10 would recommend a visit! We love them!
Marshall Road State School — Holland Park West
- Wonderful; nature play, tree climbing, loose parts and chickens.
Memorial Park Community Kindergarten – Maroochydore
Milford Lodge Child Care – Buderim
Mitchelton Pre-Schooling Centre – Mitchelton
- Amazing educators, very much outdoor play based, love it.
Mt Gravatt Community Kindergarten – Mount Gravatt
- An amazing place I absolutely recommend. A beautiful calming bush setting is nestled in the back of the Mt Gravatt Bushland Reserve. The children are taught to be considerate of the wildlife that they share their Kindy grounds with—I was surprised to learn my son could identify several different birds just by their sounds. The teachers and broader community are wonderful. It’s truly a rich experience centred around play. A little bit old fashioned, but only in a good way, with plenty of space to be outside in the bush having amazing adventures. We all 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.
Natureweavers — Cooroy
- The OG Qld nature pedagogy mob
- The original and the best
Nursery Road State Special School – Holland Park
- Great play based learning program.
Palmwoods Community Kindergarten — Palmwoods
Peregian Beach Community Kindergarten – Peregian Beach
- Wonderful start for children. Staff incredibly committed to play based learng and this shines through.
Pioneer Community Kindergarten — North Mackay
- Has the most amazing, huge, natural playground with a tree house, rainforest, mud kitchen, digging patch and large open area.
Rachel’s Place — West End
- Independent, amazing educators, great outdoor space that they are continually adding too. The kids go on a lot of community walks, do forest kindy each week, lots of risk taking play, child led and so engaged. The kids are engrossed in something from the moment they walk in to the moment they walk out, even at closing! We love it there.
Rainbow Bridge Family Day Care – Lower Beechmont
- Their educators are amazing
Rainbow Valley Early Learning Centre – Gladstone
Rockhampton South Kindergarten — Rockhampton
Samford Valley Steiner school – Samford Valley
Sesame Lane — Brisbane
- An amazing gardening program in all of their 14 services located in Moreton Bay. The children tend to the community gardens that produce vegetables that are used for the children’s freshly cooked meals.
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 play.
- Close to the best school in all of Australia
- Trumps them all.
South Pine Community Kindergarten — Strathpine
- A great place for outside play. They have a wonderful outside set up that can be used all day and in all weather. They also do a bush kindy program.
Springwood Early Education Centre & Preschool — Springwood
St Andrews Anglican College – Peregian Springs
- Wonderful play based set up from kindy through to year 3.
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.
- Good stuff
St John’s Kindergarten — Kingaroy
St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School – Biloela
- Passionate devoted Prep teacher
St Paul’s Lutheran Early Learning Centre – Townsville
- Nature play, mixed age play.
St Paul’s Lutheran Primary School & Kindergarten — Caboolture
- Beautiful nature play areas, an orchard where kids can climb trees at lunch time, dig in the dirt, use water, loose parts play and agile learning in the classroom.
Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School– Gladstone
- Amazing play based prep
Starting Strong — Gold Coast
- My son did this program a few years ago. It was the best thing. I wasn’t quite ready for the whole day in a childcare centre. This was a short program outside in nature. Just lovely. The Instructors/Educators were so nice and they put so much time, effort and love into each weeks program. It really showed. It was good because most of the things they used and incorporated into the program, where things I could find/make or do at home. I will never forget the day they were learning about recycling. It was amazing how such a small talk/discussion and activity with the kids about it, made such a lasting impression on my son. I always loved hearing and seeing what they had done each week, he always had a blast. They have so many different classes and locations on offer now compared to when my little fella went. I recommend checking them out. It really is a good program.
- 100% outdoor early learning sessions and bush kindy. Located in numerous natural play spaces and parks/ reserves on the Gold Coast. Leading parents and children in nature play , showing families that they dont have to go far ( within the Gold coast city, in suburbs) to find natural play spaces for their children.
- I totally 100% recommend Starting Strong! My children have both attended the early learning and bush kindy sessions and we love it! So much fun and the educators are so good with the children. An outdoor classroom is the best and what my children have learned about their environment around them will stay with them forever.
Strathpine Community Kindergarten — Strathpine
- This kindy has a designated Bush Kindy program for their 4 year old groups once a week all through terms 3 and 4 where they spend their day in the real bush… climbing trees, roasting marshmallows over their own made fires, spotting koalas,and all the wildlife of the bush, lizards and birds, “fishing” in Lake Kurwongbah, making mud pies, and endless ‘potions’ the opportunities for nature based learning are genuinely endless and then not to mention the amazing nurturing teachers whom also operate within the Kindy itself ‘known as Home kindy’!
- Bush rangers in training one day a week for this kindys 4 year old classes out in the bush behind Petrie scout den where the kids build houses from sticks, catch tadpoles and go bush walking, use flints to spark their own fires under their bush ranger teachers watchful eyes, get dirty rain hail or shine. A really innovative program that’s been running for years now for good reason! Our older kids who didn’t get to experience this are jealous every time our younger one talks about it. Don’t think there’s another kindy that makes this nature learning so authentic.
- Such a strong nature focus for the early years our little 4 year old bush ranger grand daughter has thrived with her bush kindy program and learns as much if not more from playing and sticks and mud and trees as any child could hope to learn indoors with whiteboards. Great kindergarten in Brisbane
- A wonderful example of learning through play, in nature. Its bush kindy program provides invaluable opportunities for positive risk-taking, team work, and fun.
- This C&K kindy has a designated Bush Kindy program for their 4 year old groups once a week all through terms 3 and 4 where they spend their day in the real bush… climbing trees, roasting marshmallows over their own made fires, spotting koalas, “fishin
Sunbird Children’s Center — Julatten
- Should definitely be on the list
Suncoast Little Learners — Woombye
- Passionate about outdoor education, our bush kindy programme is accredited through Nature Play QLD and our beach kindy program is also wonderful. We love our walks to our community garden and we spend as much time learning through play and with nature that we can.
- I came here to say this too
Sunnybank Community Preschool & Kindergarten —Sunnybank
- Rated as EXCEEDING since 2012. Has a beautiful natural playground with lots of shady trees, gardens, digging patch with mud kitchen, veggie gardens, native bees and chickens. They focus on loose parts and free play and are rich in indigenous and multicultural experiences. A truly wonderful place where children learn through play in and with nature, nurturing and caring for country and its wildlife.
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
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.
- An outstanding kindergarten. It is a wonderfully nurturing centre with amazing staff and a brilliant focus on nature play and supporting play based learning in the outdoors with their extremely popular bush Kindy program. The yard is fantastic with future nature play updates in the works to further compliment the Bush Kindy program. The director has a wonderful approach to the children, supporting kids to learn through their environment, having a blast getting wet and dirty while building confidence and resilience. Families have a great connection to the kindergarten with a number of events which bring the community together. I have now count families i meet thought the Kinder as some of our best friends. An absolute gem in the crown for the Trinity Beach Community.
- Absolutely fantastic!! The environment for the children is outstanding as are the staff! Completely child focused, always. Such great spaces for kids to play outside in nature, plus bush kindy. Cannot recommend it enough!
- Amazing. The teachers and staff are all brilliant and the bush kindy program is amazing. All 4 of my children went there and loved it.
Twin Towns Kindergarten (Lady Gowrie) – Coolangatta
- 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.
Upper Mt Gravatt Kindergarten (Lady Gowrie) – Brisbane
- The teachers are fantastic – play based and child led. Just starting forest program – exploring the local bushland.
Wildlings Forest School — South East Queensland
Whispering Gully Childcare — Coomera
Woombye State School – Sunshine Coast
- Awesome Prep program. All classes utilise play based learning.
Yeronga Hyde Road Kindergarten Society Inc. — Yeronga
- I love the encouragement of child led play. The fact that the shed is open and available for whatever sparks interest and the kids aren’t discouraged from anything. If they have an idea that idea is facilitated and encouraged. There is also a wonderful open yard space where the children spend most of the morning. Sandpit digging patch, exploring. The focus this year from a PD for the teachers is nature play, having had PD sessions regarding how to increase their nature play and utilise the wonderful outdoor space they have.
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.