KIDS COLLEGE IS TEACHING ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
Kids College is teaching environmental responsibility with a myriad of wonderful initiatives within our community. The topics of recycling and sustainability in our context of global citizenship is an important life lesson for our children to learn from early childhood. By embedding these messages into children’s daily lives we hope to inspire an ethos of care and citizenship.
Kids College has a veggie patch, a herb garden, compost system and a worm farm. Our favourite incursion is Living eggs, watching the eggs hatch into baby chickens and experiencing seeing these lifecycle for ourselves. We also welcome wonderful Worm Waste who bring their wonderful worms for us to learn about. Our children love their trips to Woolworths to see all the wonderful things that go into where our food comes from. We have our lovely pets, our crazy crabs, fish, and our bearded dragon Raa. Within our building we run sustainability and recycling initiatives at Kids College, anything from our solar panels on the roof to our electronic communications.
A global citizen is someone who is aware of and understands the wider world – and their place in it. They take an active role in their community, and work with others to make our planet more equal, fair and sustainable.
Global citizenship is all about encouraging young people to develop the knowledge, skills and values they need to engage with the world. And it’s about the belief that we can all make a difference.
Education for global citizenship is not an additional subject – it’s a framework for learning, reaching beyond children’s schools and into the to wider community. It can be promoted in class through the existing curriculum or through new initiatives and activities.
Global citizenship helps young people to:
- Build their own understanding of world events.
- Think about their values and what’s important to them.
- Take learning into the real world.
- Challenge ignorance and intolerance.
- Get involved in their local, national and global communities.
- Develop an argument and voice their opinions.
- See that they have power to act and influence the world around them.
What’s more, global citizenship inspires and informs teachers and parents, too. But above all, it shows young people that they have a voice. The world may be changing fast, but they can make a positive difference – and help build a fairer, safer and more secure world for everyone.
Global citizenship encompasses cultural respect, social justice, diversity amongst other values involving environmentalism, recycling and sustainability.
“It is really true that education cannot consist of external rules and techniques, but must arise from a true knowledge of the human being; this will lead to experiencing oneself as part of the world. And this experience of belonging to the world is what must be brought to children by educators.”
—Rudolf Steiner, Lecture Four, Bern, April 16, 1924 (1997, p. 54)
To develop a sense of belonging and an ethos of care we are encouraging our children to connect with our community.
Why teach these concepts in early childhood?
There is a window of opportunity in which, we as early childhood educators have an active and significant role to play in ensuring our children experience connections with the natural environment in meaningful in ways, ways that will assist their understanding of connectedness both with and in the natural environment and ultimately, promote action for sustainability.
Our early childhood curriculum is geared towards experiential, open-ended learning and is, therefore, compatible with any programs that encourage a holistic approach to global citizenship.
Kids College connection to our community
By developing an environmentally responsibility and sustainability education program at Kids College, we can reach families in our community. We are also inclusive of our early childhood staffing team and who may benefit from the increased knowledge and awareness of environmental issues as well as the economic, health (human and environmental), and social benefits that may be associated with a change in behaviours and practice. Sound environmental values are then instilled in our children where us adults who care for them are modelling positive environmental attitudes and behaviours, and sharing with them our positive interactions and connections with the natural environment.
The wider community and the environment also indirectly benefit from the development and implementation of an early childhood sustainability program that encourages such things as efficiency in the use of energy and water, better waste management, and environmentally friendly policies and practices.
Sustainability education is: ‘education for the environment, and more broadly acknowledges the complexities of social, environmental and economic systems, and their implications for sustaining life’ (ECA, unpub. final draft, p. 2).
Sustainability education underpins everything that happens in the day-to-day running of an early childhood service, and must be implemented as part of the ongoing education in the centre, rather than as isolated activities.
Our aim with education for sustainability is to promote a sense of responsibility, respect, empowerment, active participation, enquiry, and social change.
Backyard in a box
At Kids College we are part of Backyard in a box. With over 170 learning experiences and extensions mapped to the Early Years Learning Framework and the National Quality Standards, Backyard in a box strives to connect educators and students with the common goal – to learn and practice sustainability. At Kids College we have initiatives for recycling, worm farming, composting, water recycling and organic gardening.
Our Backyard in a box enables us to embed sustainable practices into our service operations. This program provides us to support the uptake and expansion of sustainable knowledge designed to necessitate ongoing action in the classroom, evident in our displays and learning stories. It includes positive behaviour guidance by way of Helper Charts, which compel children and educators to regularly and systematically apply sustainable practice as part of their normal routine. We weave our messages into our policies, procedures and our programming for our children.
Recognising the value of continuity for children, families and educators, Backyard In A Box has Community Resources and School Readiness Resources, in all their modules, available for purchase by families and community organisations.
Kids College is part of Little Green Steps
Little Green Steps, is a sustainability education program for early childhood centres and preschools. Early Childhood education years that the foundations are laid for the development of environmentally responsible adults. And, in this UN Decade for Sustainability 2005-14, it is our responsibility, as adults, to provide all the support we can to the youngest members
At Little Green steps they believe in the power of Early Childhood Education for Sustainability (ECEfS). It equips children with the tools they need to actively contribute to a healthy, safe, sustainable future
Little Green Steps WA (LGS WA) is working together with an extensive range of educational resources, networks and local communities towards our common goal: giving children the confidence and skills to have a positive impact on their lives and their environment.
By linking to the National Quality Standards (NQS), Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and Australian Curriculum (AC) sustainable practices aren’t about adding more to your busy schedule. It can be as simple as changing how you do things in your daily activity and we show you how.
Some of you may be a little surprised to hear that sustainability is not just about nature. Yes, looking after and connecting with nature and the environment is incredibly important, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Sustainability encompasses many aspects of your, and your children’s lives. This includes wellness, economics, water and much more. It truly is a holistic approach and is not just about teaching your children. It is about how you manage your staff, how run your centre, how you run your daily activities and what you do throughout the day. Sustainability isn’t something you ‘do’ on Wednesday mornings before lunch, or another thing added to your already lengthy list of things you need to do in a day: it’s about how you do those things, and communicating why you are doing them that way. Starting these conversations and actions at day one sets our children up for success in the future.
Food Cycle Framework
Developing a ‘food cycle framework’ within the daily emergent curriculum can provide: ‘many valuable opportunities for interactions between adults and children while they carefully consider the world around them’ (McCrea, 1996, p. 10).
Growing vegetables, herbs, and fruit trees, preparing and cooking food, processing food wastes, and even sharing the experience of role-playing shopping for food ingredients, can all help young children better understand how to care for the environment and themselves.
Children develop positive attitudes and values by engaging in open-ended learning experiences, by joining in discussions that explore solutions to the issues that we face, and by watching the adults around them model sustainable practices. A favourite excursion is our trips to Woolworths, where we get to see where our food comes from and gives them a sense of how it is all connected.
Our fish tank has now become a growing aquaponics system. Aquaponics is a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic creatures supplies the nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water.Aquaponics uses nutrient rich water from fish tanks to provide plants, grown in a greenhouse, with organic fertilizer. No pesticides or herbicides are used. In addition, we can use land that is not good for farming. For these and other reasons outlined below, Aquaponics is environmentally friendly.
Because aquaponics recycles the water in the system, we can grow in droughts and areas with little water. Less pests to deal with since we are growing indoors. Plants grows twice as fast, due to the naturally fortified water from the fish. Thank you to Noel for your help with getting our aquaponics up and running.
Single plastic to single fantastic, with Artist Vee
Artist Vee has found her own way to turn trash into treasure, educate children on recycling and help save the oceans too. Feeling inspired one day Virginia began her journey into art.
She crafts her art from plastic pieces, rope and driftwood she finds washed up along Perth’s coast. Virginia cleans up our beaches and recycles bits and bobs into her amazing artworks. She is sending messages of love for our environment and teaching us to care for all our precious marine creatures.
Artist Vee is a frequent artist in residence at Kids College inspiring our children to recycle and repurpose, seeing the magical possibilities in everyday items that we throw away. ‘Single plastic to single fantastic. Our Kids College children have created a fish out of bottle tops and most recently we have created a turtle out of CD’s and assorted plastic odds and ends. We would like to say a big thank you to Artist Vee and encourage everyone to follow her instagram feed perthbeacheco.
Artist Vee is a highly accomplished member of our community and we are very proud of our work with her.
- Won a City of Stirling’s “Living Greens” award in May 2018 for Art to Inspire
- Exhibited in Fremantle’s art space “Bitches Brew Gallery” in July.
- Articles in all of Perth’s community newspapers for Plastic Free in July.
- Featured on ABC Perth radio for talks about War on Waster in August.
- AQWA Hillarys exhibit 1st – 5th October
- Featured in a London art magazine, No Serial Number, featuring artists that specialise in sustainability.
Thank you so much to Artist Vee for sharing your talent with us and inspiring us all.
Recycle, reuse an reduce
What is recycling?
Recyclingis important to preserve the environment and to leave the planet in a better condition than we found it
The good news that all of us can do our part to recycle, and it starts the youth of Australia. If children learn from early on to recycle, they will carry that good habit with them for life. With some easy effort and guidelines, kids can learn how to become part of the solution to recycling for a healthier planet.
Recycling is how we take trash and transform it into new products. There are several types of recycling processes that allow some materials to be used one or more times. Recycling is good for us and the environment because it reduces the use of new raw materials to product new products. It also reduces the energy we use, improves the quality of air and water, and fights climate change.
Soda cans, plastic water bottles, plastic milk cartons, newspapers, cereal boxes and old computers are just some of the common items that are recycled every day. If all of us were to recycle just a few items per day that we throw away, we can go a long way to improving the environment for our futures and future generations.
What is reusing?
Just as we learn the importance of recycling, we also should learn about reusing. Reusing means combining reusing materials and using items that can be reused. For example, paper plates cannot be reused, and reusable cutlery lowers the energy that is needed to make new products, and it also can be reused to prevent more waste in the landfill. Reusing things that can be reused means less pollution and more of our precious natural resources are left intact. Think about the possibilities of a product before you throw it away; it could be reused for another purpose. How about that old t-shirt? It could b used as a car rag. Reuse is different from recycling, but it does lead to reduced consumption – always a good thing.
What is reducing?
Another important thing to learn, in addition to recycling and reusing, is reducing. Keeping our new purchases to a minimum is a way to reduce our use of natural resources. Reducing consumption of physical objects is important, as is reducing our use of electricity, water and gas to make new products. Reducing means to lower usage from the very start.
Cutting back on purchases you do not really need lowers the use of materials and also lowers energy waste through gas and transportation costs. Reducing also can apply in other areas of life. Carpool, bike or use public transportation when possible. Take shorter showers and ask your parents to replace old appliances with Energy Star ones.
KIDS COLLEGE FAMILY
At Kids College we work each day embedding our values and philosophy into each facet of what we do. We continually improve our practices by critically reflecting and engaging in meaningful relationships with our community and for this we need your support and input. Make sure to follow Kids College Childcare on facebook, watch for our regular emails and keep an eye on our Kids College website. Share in our vision of creating the very best childcare where children experience love, laughter and learning every day. You can reach us on Jennifer@kidscollege.com.au
Quote from Kids College Philosophy
‘We also embed sustainability and recycling at Kids College to support our place in our modern global climate of environmental responsibility.’
‘It takes a whole village to raise a child’ and Kids College values our partnership with parents and our community that takes pride in our position as our children’s home away from home, ensuring our families and children build a strong sense of belonging to the kids College family.’
3.2.3. The service cares for the environment and supports children to become environmentally responsible.
6.2.3. The service builds relationships and engages with its community.