Immerse your class in the magical world of a garden where experience-based learning creates connections through gardening, play, the inspiration of story and the child’s imagination. Each program is led by a Royal Botanic Gardens primary teacher and can be adapted to suit individual group needs.
The following programs incorporate AusVELS. They provide an excellent means of teaching across the Domains in an integrated way.
All programs 1 hour and 45 minutes in duration.
10.15am to 12noon
12.30pm to 2.15pm
Program prices (domestic)
$11.90 per student (includ. GST)
$214.20 per class, for small groups (Minimum Charge)
Teachers / Adults free
Bookings and information
Cranbourne bookings and information
T 03 5990 2200
- Primary education program flyer (MS Word - 911 kB)
- VELS Program Guide Cranbourne (MS Word - 108 kB)
Health and Wellbeing in Nature (New Program)
Health and wellbeing is interconnected with time spent in natural environments. Being in nature reduces anger, fear, anxiety and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.
In this specially developed new program, students are invited to explore the physical, mental and emotional benefits of spending time outside. Participants will brainstorm and discuss the role of healthy foods, physical exercise and spending time outside in cultivating health and wellbeing. Through practice of mindfulness exercises, participants will learn to nurture their own self-awareness and greater awareness of others and the natural world.
The Carbon futures program takes students out of the classroom and into the bush to gain a practical look at carbon in the environment. Students will learn about how carbon works in different natural systems through ocean acidification experiments and measuring carbon in trees. Students will also discover the many other services a forest has to offer people anywhere on the planet. The program also aims to connect schools in Australia with subsistence school communities in Timor Leste, as part of WithOneSeed's open education and reforestation initiatives.
Threatened Species- Southern Brown Bandicoot
The Southern Brown Bandicoot is a nationally threatened small mammal that is locally common and active during the day at the Cranbourne Gardens due to a highly successful conservation program. In this fieldwork based program explore what bandicoots need to thrive in a heathland environment. Discover what has been done to protect this remnant population and the landscapes they call home. Activities include: Discovery walk, simple fieldwork exercise (transect) and fire ecology task.
Deserts are challenging places for people, plants and animals to survive. They are environments of extremes where unpredictable change is normal. Students will learn about how living things survive in hot, dry deserts and the causes of desertification. Pot up a drought tolerant plant and examine the features that Australian plants have evolved to allow them to conserve water. Explore the Arid Garden, the Red Sand Garden and the Dry River Beds of the Australian Garden and discover what makes Australia deserts unique.
Shared Country - Indigenous program
Discover the importance of the environment to the Koolin people and how plants were used for food, fibre, medicine and tools. Experiences include a discovery walk, examining artefacts, ochre art and plant food tasting.
Bushfoods - Indigenous Program
Discover some of the indigenous food plants of the region and Australia generally. Find them growing in the bush and the garden and learn how they are prepared. Experiences include discovery walk, grinding and tasting wattle seed, Lemon Myrtle Tea and other plant leaf products.
Scents and Senses
Immerse yourself in sensory bliss. Explore the Australian Garden with all of your senses in a manner that will delight, excite and surprise you with its depth and intensity. Smell and taste the flavours of Australia, see the clear, strong light illuminating our landscapes and hear the sounds hidden by our everyday rush. Above all, feel more than the textures of a time worn land, feel the excitement of a special place. Experiences include ochre painting, sensory tour and bushfood tasting.
Stewardship of our Land
This program encourages students to make a deep connection with nature by exploring Indigenous spirituality, our reliance on the environment for survival, the interconnectedness of all living things and the beauty and diversity in nature which will lead to stewardship of the environment. Experiences include creating a ground mosaic, sensory perception, potting up a habitat/bush food plant, a guided meditation and discussion of an environmental story.
Art of the Australian Garden
Join us in a visual discovery of the Australian Garden and be inspired to new creative heights by contemporary interpretations of the Australian landscape. Using textural and organic materials as well as photography, discover and depict your own connection to this exciting environment.
Activities include ochre mapping of country using traditional materials, photography throughout the garden, and creating a sculptural ground mosaic.
Australian Garden Christmas
Celebrate Christmas and the end of the year in the new and exciting Australian Garden. Discover our Australian Christmas plants, make a gumnut art Christmas decoration and potpourri.
Seed to Tree
Plants are really amazing, especially when you explore their role in sustaining and creating the biosphere. Find out how plants function, and pot up a seedling. Discover the huge diversity of plants in Australia and their adaptations to the Australian environment. Experiences include potting up a plant, discovery-walk, observations and sensory exploration of plants.
Sustainable Gardening (Water in a Dry Country)
Gardening is a productive and creative form of expression. Learn how to be creative while you help conserve our precious biodiversity and our water resources. This is a tactile and socially instructive session. Experiences include group workshopping a landscape design, mulch sculpture construction, potting up a plant and worm farming.
Explore our wetlands by ponding for water creatures and testing the water quality. Experiences include a discovery-walk, measuring turbidity, pH, temperature, conductivity, nitrogen levels and identifying aquatic animals.
Explore the award winning contemporary cultural interpretation of the Australian flora and landscapes and our remnant native bushland. Discover and identify iconic Australian plant and animal communities as they occur in the Australian Garden.
Experiences include a discovery walks in the Australian Garden and the remnant bushland, treasure box and ponding.
How can we become active conservationists at a local level and be a part of positive global change? This program provides an authentic hands-on learning experience focusing on Victorian environmental issues and providing strategies for action at home.
Experiences include discovery walk, treasure box, potting up native plant and worm farming.
Investigate the creatures we share our bush and wetlands with, exploring how they live and their lifecycles. How do minibeasts help our gardens grow and why do plants attract or repel them? Experiences include ponding, discovery-walk, animal observations and sensory exploration of plants and water.
Climate change is now accepted as a reality that we have to address globally. Find out what it means for us and what we can do about it individually, in a very positive sense. Take home a drought tolerant, carbon fixing plant, find out how to creatively manage and store water while reflecting on the bigger picture solutions.
Fire in the Australian Landscape
Observe first hand, how fire stimulates Australian plants to set seed and grow. The RBGC uses fire as a management tool to encourage biodiversity and provide habitat for native mammals. Measure the total fire fuel load, observe the weather conditions and learn about plant adaptations to fire.
Experiences include a discovery-walk, exploration of plant adaptations, succession after fire and calculating the overall fuel hazard for a set site.
Dance through the water cycle at the Australian Garden and learn about the importance of water to life. This program is focused on movement and creativity; children will develop their own Raindance, use water painting, explore all the colours of the rainbow in the landscape around them, and pot up their own drought-tolerant plant to take home. Experiences include a discovery walk, water play and rhythm and dance inspired by the water cycle.
Weelams not Wigwams
This program involves group work that teaches cooperative learning in an Australian cultural and bush setting, making use of bush materials. Experiences include cultural introduction/discussion, discovery walk and Weelam construction.
Cranbourne suggested activities
- Wander up to Trig Point Lookout to take in the amazing views from the mountains to the sea. On a clear day you can see forever (Mt Macedon, the You Yangs, Phillip Island and the City).
- Cool your feet wading in the marked section of the Rockpool Waterway.
- Climb on redgum Hortasaurus and slide down his big red tongue in the Children's Backyard.
- Discover the fossils and footprints in the shady Desert Discovery Camp sand pit.
- 50 things for kids to do (PDF - 1.82 kB)