Greystone Farm is the location for a small, home-based child care program, operating from within a farm on 8 acres of land at Guanaba, in the Gold Coast Hinterland. The farm overlooks the escarpment at the base of Mt Tamborine.

The farm house, Greystone Cottage, has a very large playroom with high cathedral ceilings, lots of natural light, stonework and wood featured walls. The room is filled with quality resources, where children’s creative flow becomes the basis for their play, learning, discovery, growth and well-being. We are only inside for a short time of the day, spending most of our time outside in our gardens, creeks and bushland. There is also a vegetable garden as well as extensive flower gardens. The animals and interaction with animals Include, a rescue greyhound dog, 2 cats, 4 horses, numerous bantam chickens, ducks, geese, peacocks, guinea fowl and guinea pigs.

The natural environment surrounding Greystone Farm Nature Play changes frequently, with weather and seasons, different animals and insects, birds and butterflies and according to the children’s interests. Children are involved in seasonal gardening, explorations with water, rocks and soil, and care for the chickens.

Children are invited engage with the environment; to swing from and climb selected trees, climb rocks or dig and create in the garden. Activities follow the needs of the group, gradually extending comfort zones, developing creativity and engagement outside, and potentially, becoming eco-literate (speaking the language of the sustainable natural world).

Nature play can be messy, risky, scratchy, wet, tiring and uncomfortable! Especially for children who do not have regular experiences of extended free play outside. Families are encouraged to pursue regular free play times out-of-doors, together, at home.

Shortlisted for the Outdoor Queensland Community Award for Nature Play 2017.

— Narell McKenna
Early Childhood Educator
Greystone Farm Nature Play

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