The KindiCare Excellence Awards celebrate the top performing early childhood education and care centres right across Australia.
2023 Award Winners
South Australian Regional Winner
Lobethal Community Kindergarten
KindiCare●October 22, 2023
Lobethal Community Kindergarten has won the Regional State Award for South Australia, with a KindiCare Rating of 9.3, and this brilliant community kindy is raising a whole cohort of eco warriors and garden gurus!
Nature-based learning is a big focus at Lobethal Kindy, both inside and outside the gates, and the children are given lots of hands-on opportunities to experience the natural world and gain a real respect for the planet. Lobethal’s Bush Kindy Nature Connect program is a great example of this. This program runs in Term 2 every year, and it means that children and educators get to spend one week per fortnight at their local nature area, Bushland Park Lobethal. Director, Amanda Josephs, says, “Our Bush Kindy program is much more than simply playing in nature. It is learning in nature, and during each session, we walk through the park, explore the plants and animals, and teach the children how to look after the environment and understand the eco system.” Back at the kindy, this focus on environmental awareness and custodianship continues, and the team is always looking for ways to make progress when it comes to sustainability. Amanda says, “We do a rubbish audit each year, which involves us looking at the types of rubbish children bring to kindy, learning how to separate the rubbish and reduce what is brought in. We also teach the children how to recycle. They learn to separate soft plastics from other rubbish and to always put organic waste into the compost. We also have a worm farm, which the children enjoying looking after, and we produce a lot of compost and worm juice!” This organic plant food is then put to great use in the Lobethal Community Garden. This garden is planted on the grounds of Lobethal Kindy, but it’s not just for kindy kids, families and educators. Instead, there’s a wider focus on caring and sharing, and people from all over the Lobethal community are welcome to tend to, and take from, the produce-producing garden. Amanda explains that, “The community garden is situated in the front yard of our kindy and we have led the planting of the vegetable garden and bush tucker garden, but we invite families and other people to come along and water the garden and pick from it. “We also have a Grow Free Cart that we put surplus produce in, and community members are free to come and take fruit, veg and herbs from the cart.” The Lobethal Community Garden says a lot about how the whole kindy operates. Lobethal Kindy is child, family and community focused, and they invest a lot of time, energy and care to build strong, inclusive and reciprocal partnerships with all the people in their orbit. Amanda and her team know that young children benefit from feeling a sense of belonging, and everyone who passes through the gates of Lobethal Kindy feels part of something beautiful. It’s great to see them pick up a Regional State Award in this year’s KindiCare Excellence Awards, and we look forward to seeing where they go – and grow – next!