Meet Rose, the owner of Castlemaine Bush Kinder and Bush Babies which is a small business that merges Rose’s love for bushcraft, nature, and children’s development.
Rose offers two programs, one for under 3s and another for 3 to5-year-olds with the aim of giving the children and parents a better understanding of the local habitat. She focuses on the protection and conversation of the local Box Ironbark area as well as the young children’s physical and emotional development. Additional to completing her own study to further her knowledge of early childhood development, Rose has lectured at La Trobe University in Bendigo VIC to share her knowledge with future teachers. Recently she has been working with Many Rivers business coach, Frankie to grow her business further.
“Some days I feel overwhelmed, and Frankie just steps in and will be a gentle guide or the anchor depending on where I am that day and what I need to hear to keep driving my business.”
Read more about Rose’s business journey so far.
My business is an early years nature program called Wild Wisdom. I operate out of the Castlemaine flora and fauna reserve. My curriculum is based on our local Box Ironbark area which is the local bushland.
The program offers a better understanding of local habitats, with a focus on protection and conversation for young children.
The Bush Babies Program is offered to young families with children under 3 years. It runs for just over 2 hours. Bush Kinder is for 3 to5-year-olds and runs for just over 3.5 hours. It is a connective and immersive parent and child program to help children and a parent or grandparent attend together.
The parents also gain so much from being out in nature and often say they want a program just for them!
Starting Castlemaine Bush Kinder and Bush Babies
This business marries my love of children, love of bushcraft and love of nature. They are my strengths, and I have been able to harness them to be able to offer something for young children.
Bush Babies is a lot more about the child and parent. Bush Kinder offers the child bush skills and teaches them about our local flora and fauna. It also challenges the body and teaches about our area through an Indigenous lens. Studies show that the benefits of children being out in nature include; building a child’s immune system and reducing their stress hormones. Being out in nature also allows children’s growing bodies to develop greater agility.
My program operates throughout the seasons so that the kids can experience the varied seasonal changes. We go by the Indigenous seasons of the local Dja Dja Warrung people. I hope that by teaching the kids early, they will be more conscientious of the First Nations land and its people as they grow up.
My curriculum also focuses on endangered species. We discuss ways in which we can continue to protect these species and bring awareness to them.
Why Rose Decided to go into Business
The work has always been a supplementary income. However, during COVID-19, I had many families reaching out to me, desperately wanting to bring in their children to my program. Someone suggested that I try out NEIS, which I have thoroughly enjoyed, but I really owe my motivation and success to Frankie, I don’t think she knows how much she helped me out.
It is unique because my program is part of the education sector, but it is also a business. It has always been a love of mine to be a part of this very important time of kid’s development.
We are experiencing a time where children are further detached and less exposed to nature than ever before. There is a plethora of research now that suggests marked developmental issues associated with this. We need to make sure kids get outdoors daily.
Before Castlemaine Bush Kinder and Bush Babies
I was a journalist, I worked at the local newspaper for several years. It wasn’t until I had my five kids that I started taking my kids out to natural settings with other like-minded parents. I began to tell the children stories, teach them about the bush and sing rhymes.
By the time my youngest child was born, I started running informal gatherings.
I completed a Diploma in Early Education and Care. I also completed Steiner Education Training. I would love to do more study down the track too. I have done a few lectures at La Trobe University in Bendigo, which were an incredible experience, and I would love to do further study at university.
I have been able to teach educators about my early year’s nature program and teach children in nature.
Working With Many Rivers
I have always worked hard and on my own. Often I find that I have a lot of stuff swirling around in my head and I just need to vomit it all out! Frankie is really good at prioritising creativity and business development. Sometimes I’ve been mulling over an idea for ages, and then when I talk to her she has a thorough answer and process to follow. It makes me wish I’d spoken to her sooner! She is really good at listening to everything and then having a way of offering ideas. She doesn’t do it for me. She offers it in a way where I think ‘I can do this’. She knows her stuff.
Keeping you on track. Some days I feel overwhelmed and Frankie just steps in and will be a gentle guide or the anchor depending on where I am that day and what I need to hear to keep driving my business.
For me, I don’t feel comfortable navigating all the COVID-19 restrictions and protocols as my work is in nature. Safety is already something that I take very seriously, and I do site checks every morning. I find all the protocols very hard to navigate.
It was also really frustrating when I couldn’t work, and that was when I was just opening for business. Then when I could operate, it could only be a really small group, and so many missed out.
It’s really tiring to work by yourself and I’m trying to hold many families as regular customers.
I was nominated for the Mount Alexander Small Business Award! I often get emails from the parents about how happy their kids are after attending my program.
I have had to learn new skills about getting my program online. I have just been approached by a local prison, as there are 4 young kids on their premises, so I am learning how to record videos for them.
I would love to do Early Year’s Nature Education lecturing; I got a lot out of that. Hopefully, if I am recognised for my work, I can teach this education niche and help teach the early years sector. There are many programs for early years, but I think they all vary in quality. I would also like to develop a larger program to run in school holidays.
Thanks Rose for sharing your business journey. Your story will inspire people who are looking to take their next step towards creating their own business. If you would like to stay updated with Rose and her journey as a small business owner, follow Castlemaine Bush Kinder Babies on Facebook.
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