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Nature Play: Take Childhood Back

Think back to your childhood - how did you learn best? Was it through exploration, endless hours outdoors, running free in your neighbourhood with friends, making cubbies and playing house? Or was it homework and worksheets? Join us for this compelling film and conversation that takes a critical look at education today.


The spotlight is firmly on the education system here in Australia, and with falling literacy and numeracy scores being addressed with more and more standardised tests, many are calling for a revolution in the way we teach the next generation.

NaturePlay is a stunning cinematic portrait of childhood filmed in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the US that portrays the Scandinavian method of teaching, living and enjoying nature, compared with the high stakes and high-stress American testing culture. 

The film argues, through it's narrative featuring Matt Damon, that the focus in school is no longer centred on what's good for the child, but rather data and performance outcomes driven by political agendas and societal expectations. There is little value placed on the needs of the child for outdoor play, for the love of learning, or time to develop innovative and creative minds and there is high value placed on producing a very specific product - test scores. 

Q&A Panel
Shona Bass, Early Life Foundations
Shona is the Managing Director of Early Life Foundations, an organisation that provides professional support across Australia and Internationally for a wide range of educators and parents of children birth to 14 years of age.  Early Life Foundations provides an independent voice on evidence-based best practice in education and parenting.
Shona is renowned both within Australia and internationally for her work in the education, medical and health sectors. Shona completed her PhD in the Department of Medicine at the University of Melbourne and was a Professor and Head of School at Deakin University.
She has published widely in international peer-reviewed journals and medical and health texts and has been the recipient of many national and international research and leadership awards.
Shona is a well-known speaker internationally and nationally, and works with a variety of professionals and parent groups on an extensive range of topics related to children, families, parenting, education and leadership; including, understanding children’s behavior, building resilience and self esteem, supporting children with anxiety, school readiness, school transition, personalised learning, developmental curriculum, emotional intelligence and all facets of leadership and team building.

Amy & Jade, Growing Green Thumbs
Amy & Jade are passionate about connecting children to nature, inspiring them and guiding them how to grow real food in a sustainable environment. Spending their days in an organic garden at Bonbeach Primary School, the pair run regular gardening sessions with students of the school and wider community.
The pair created an outdoor kitchen garden at Bonbeach Primary School Melbourne, Australia in 2013. They gained much appreciation from the local community and business and volunteered many hours to create a space where food education and environmental sustainability could take place. The now award-winning garden and surrounding areas slowly transformed from a dusty, concrete area into a functioning kitchen garden that now plays host to many classes, workshops, events and markets.
The garden is open to the community at Bonbeach Farmers Market – which was established as an extension of the garden. The pair believe that everyone should have access to great food and it’s origins.
They share their food-growing ways with parents, students and wider community,  growing organic fruit, vegetables and flowers whilst making it fun to play outdoors in a sustainable environment. Tee-pee’s come and go, sensory gardens are forever changing, nature play structures are always being built, worm farms & compost heaps brew, organic veggie patches grow, fruit orchards bloom, community plots are nurtured, frog bogs are busy and mud kitchens are a messy place for little hands full of fun. There is something for everyone to interact with in the garden.

About the event
Join us at Shirley Burke Theatre in Parkdale, Bayside Melbourne for a nourishing meal, fresh juice, snacks, beer and wine, all available for purchase before the film. Connect with our community and explore what's on offer from our local business exhibitors. There's also great prizes in our raffle thanks to our exhibitors and generous local businesses.

Event program
5.45pm doors open, nourishing food and drink available, local exhibitors
6.45pm film commences
8.30pm Q&A panel followed by prize raffle
9.00pm event concludes

Earlier Event: March 15
Dream, Girl
Later Event: July 12
The Freedom To Marry