Reducing ecological footprint the aim
When the children at Goodstart Morwell arrive at the centre in the mornings, they know their day will be filled with surprises.
From making recycled paper, to growing plants in their vegetable garden, the kindergarten children, aged from three to five years old, are taking part in a sustainability program that teaches them about the importance of decreasing their ecological footprint.
They grow celery and carrots from food scraps, visit the Australian Paper mill to learn about recycling, have a worm farm for compost and collect recyclable goods.
Centre early childhood teacher Alexandra Lovell said the centre was determined to become as sustainable as possible.
“The children here have been in engaged in the inquiry process of growing celery and carrots from food scraps as well as investigating and learning about the recycling process, particularly about recycling centres,” Ms Lovell said.
“We’ve formed stronger connections with the wider community through having incursions from the local Paper Mill, by providing families with our worm juice for their garden as well as asking families to donate their recyclable goods for our kindergarten room.”
The children place their food scraps in a container for collection by farming families for their chickens and learn about the importance of recycling.
“The children have experienced real-world learning and have taken charge of their learning,” Ms Lovell said. “They ask us lots questions and we support them in investigating the answers. They have truly loved making their own paper.
“It’s been a wonderful process and so rewarding hearing the children’s voices in their explanations as well as the parent support we’ve received.”
Children also pick broccoli and lettuce from the garden at lunchtime to help make sushi for afternoon tea, and are often heard teaching their classmates about what is recyclable.
“It’s been an amazing inquiry journey we’ve undertaken over the last few months and one that we’ll continue along,” Ms Lovell said.
Goodstart research shows childhood is a critical period of time to involve children in sustainability and environment education so they develop lifelong practices that respect and help protect the planet.