The Sustainable Preschool Project (Part 1) Water wallMon, 28th Nov 2016
The Sustainable preschool project...
For this months blog, I set out to write about some useful ideas in using recycled materials for craft ideas. As I was writing, I was able to reflect on our yearly practices and I realised that we have been intentionally creating a learning culture for change just through our daily routines and the subtle choices we've made and that the whole year has been one ongoing project around sustainability.
We've mentored two pre-service teachers this year (from Swinburne and Chisholm). As part of their assignments, they have inquired about our practices at Dromana Preschool around sustainability and it's definitely prompted me into action to take a deeper look at our current practises. I came to the conclusion that they're actually pretty good... but of course, there's always so much more we can improve on. At least we've made a start and on reflection, I'm quite proud of the things we do!
The incursions and excursions were carefully planned this year and have reflected our sustainability practises.
One song Drumming (Katrina re-awakens the children's appreciation and curiosities for Mother Earth with her cultural stories of the Native Americans.
Murrundindi tells children interesting dreamtime stories, dancing and reconnects us with traditional Aboriginal culture.
Visiting the farm at Rain Hayne and Shine gave the children opportunities to make butter, flour, feed baby animals and milk a real cow.
Writing this blog has helped me to develop some elements around sustainability to put in place and enhance our Quality improvement plan for next year so that it's clearer for the children and families, educators and members of our community to see our intentions. Thank you Jamie for the opportunity!
The elements are: To create...
A culture where sustainable practises are embedded into our daily sustainable routines and learning experiences.
A culture that supports children to understand the need for sustainable practises at preschool, at home and in the community
A culture that encourages members of our community to reduce reuse, recycle and rethink.
Reflection on our program this year has demonstrated that many of these practises have become
embedded into our daily activities. We have noticed evidence that the children understand in so many ways.
We hear the children talking about sustainable practices. We hear them remind each other about reusing lids from their yoghurt snacks and their ideas of what they can make with them. Rubbish is independently sorted into food scraps for composting. They look for the recycle symbol on boxes and containers and they generate recyclable items into the recycle bin. The children are bringing nude food and there's minimal rubbish waste in our groups. The families have been really proactive in re thinking the snacks they provide their children each day which is a credit to them.
The children are aware. The children care. They pick up rubbish if they see it in our yard and say,'This is will hurt the fish if it gets into the ocean and they put it in the bin".
We were reading 'The little old lady who swallowed a fly'. When we got to the part of 'she swallowed a bird', a child said,"oh no! don't hurt mother earth!".
We use water from the rainwater tank for children's water play.
Children observe closely and notice shapes in nature like a heart shaped leaf, a fairy wing, a soft feeling petal, a sweet smelling flower, a broken branch on a tree.
This group of children have been particularly curious about the three R's....recycling, reducing and reusing. The children have been enthusiastically bringing in items from home for reusing for whole & small group projects.
The message of caring for planet is also about caring for each other. We have intentionally set out to create a culture of kindness in our preschool. We openly acknowledge and promote acts of kindness, sharing, caring and acceptance of each other (amongst peers and educators). This would take another blog to write about how we go about this but, but I've mentioned it because it's all linked in together.
There are so many more examples that show us that the children have a genuine grasp of good sustainability practices at preschool.
As the intention was to write about resourceful craft projects & play ...I'm going to highlight some that we've done this year that may be useful or inspirational or some that you already do or do better...we'd love to hear about yours too!
As members of Resource Rescue, we utilised many of the interesting items we'd gathered from our last visit such as cardboard rings, cardboard cotton reels and many more thought provoking objects.
Below is the link to Resource rescues facebook page for your interest.
Resource rescue link-facebok page
Some of these projects include:Wonderful water wall (pictured below). Most of the containers were brought from the children's homes with the intention of using it for this project. The lattice piece was donated from Bunnings specifically for the project. It's lovely to link the children's learning with the community with a follow up of how the lattice was used. Bunnings were thrilled when we sent them photos of our water wall in action (a father of one of our children works there so it was even more meaningful as the child felt very important!). The water wall is used all the time and we even put plants either side of the pipes so it waters them.