Kealba Kindergarten are turning preconceptions about children and fire upside down, one marshmallow at a time!  

Sarah-Beth and her team introduced firepits four years ago “Fire keeps us warm, cooks our food. Fire helps us build things and has a calming effect. It links our home life to who we are at kindergarten.”   

The children cook Bush Tucker grown in Kealba’s community garden and naturally (store bought) marshmallows are the hottest ticket in town!  

“The firepit is our Gathering Place. It’s a yarning circle even when there’s no fire. We sit and create discussion, we “yarn” and talk together about how the day’s play went, whatever comes up.” 

Families love the program “Not one has objected! They know the team are fully engaged and understand the benefits of risky play.” Sarah-Beth says the response has been so positive that sessions are now open to families, and new parent interviews are moving outside to the yarning circle.  

And the burning question, how to keep everyone safe? “Our team is always present. Children make the rules and ask, ‘How do we be safe around fire?’ They make signs ‘Don’t run through fire when lit and when it’s NOT. Must sit when it’s on. We must have buckets of water.’ They know how it works!”  

Sarah-Beth says children’s talk paints the full picture. “Oh, the smoke is in my face, it follows me, the fire’s crackly and makes patterns!”. She asks them to listen and look at the colour and mesmerising effects that flames make.  

And it’s also an opportunity to teach children that things change, things happen and are sometimes out of our hands. “We need to be patient. It’s beautiful to have that time with our children.”  

About us:  Kealba is a community-based multi-age 3- and 4-year-old kindergarten located in the north east City of Brimbank.