The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) places an emphasis on environmental intelligence, including an outdoor pedagogy that teaches children sustainability through recycling and vegetable gardening.
I visited several child care centres while in Toowoomba and Gatton. The majority of these centers had vegetable gardens that children could readily access for learning experiences and that early childhood educators could utilise in their intentional teaching. Once centre even had Bantams and had a policy of not killing bugs and insects (including spiders). Another had a policy of NO plastic (they use glass containers for storage) while another had a policy of not buying new mass produced resources – only hand made or recycled.
It was fascinating and encouraging to see environmental principles and practices embedded into early childhood programs. I thoroughly enjoyed the tours I was given and the discussions with Directors. My colleague ensured that all the Directors knew my penchant for smart art (only using recycled materials) and the resultant discussions warmed my soul. I viewed a paver, in the ground and made by the kids, decorated with colourful plastic milk bottle tops. It was GORGEOUS: bright and obvious. The Director said the kids loved it because it was spongy to walk on.
Our environment is going to be okay if we all follow sustainable practices. There are many people out there heeding the message of reduce, reuse and recycle. The message is contagious and with our babies having it now embedded in the national framework for quality child care (the EYLF) I am almost certain that we will absolutely see more sustainability in our everyday lives.
Name one thing you have done today to encourage sustainability. It really is child’s play: easy and fun once you begin.
Here’s a shoutout to Rosemont Cottage Early Learning Centre and The Olive Tree in Toowoomba. Thank you for a most exhilarating total experience. You have blended all elements of the EYLF framework seamlessly.