Your company account is blocked and you cannot place orders. If you have questions, please contact your company administrator.

24/7 SAFE & SECURE SHOPPING

10,000 PRODUCTS & EXCLUSIVE BRANDS

Sustainability: Going beyond worm farms and the 3 R’s.

Sustainability: Going beyond worm farms and the 3 R’s.

 

Educators are constantly reviewing the concept of sustainability and how services can embed this important social and environmental topic into everyday practice. There are some further simple strategies that don’t just include worm farms or the 3 R’s to consider in order to create a more sustainable environment.

The abundance of information on the topic of sustainability aimed at educators can be overwhelming and easy to ignore. It seems like we are inundated with an article, new piece of research or framework link showing us how, why and when sustainability “can be done”. Very quickly this can lead us down the path of thinking “We are recycling, we have a worm farm, we have plastic free lunch boxes, we are doing our part, aren’t we?”.

But what if there was more you could do in your service to increase your children’s knowledge and respect for the environment? What if you could be a thought leader for both your children and the sector as a whole?

Join us as we explore a new dimension to sustainability in the early years.

Biophilic Design

What does your environment say about you?

It is no ground-breaking news that both outdoor and indoor spaces in early childhood centres across Australia have undergone major changes over the past decade. Many centres have opted to get rid of the vast majority of plastic resources, actively engage children in the 3 R's and introduce or encourage wildlife into their settings. These progressive steps are certainly a great start to addressing some of the obvious signs and symptoms of a sector that has had a historical dependence on synthetics and consumables. But where to next?

As educators, we must recognise the importance of building a child’s emotional attachment to nature all the while enhancing their educational outcomes in collaboration with nature. We can do this through the principles of biophilic design.

Biophilic design brings together the idea of biophilia, that is, the innate human need to connect with nature, and the process of designing interiors, exteriors and architecture (Scheer, 2019).

Does your service floor plan, interior and exterior design, and building reflect biophilic design principles? Here are a few questions to help guide your answer:

- How much natural light do we have access to? And when and how do we utilise it?

- Do we have access to views of nature? If so, do we make these accessible to children and regular reflect upon them, observing natural and environmental phenomenon?

- Are our fixtures made of natural materials and if so, are they recognisable to the children?

- If any, what role does live vegetation or native flora and fauna play in your environment both indoor and out?

- Are there ways in which we can immediately and positively impact the environment as a whole?

This by no means is the all-encompassing list of questions to decide if you have incorporated biophilic design into your service design, it is rather a differing view point to the traditional way of thinking about sustainability and can be used as a great starting point.

Dynamic Learning Environments

Under Quality Area 3, Element 2.2 of the National Quality Standard, we are guided to ensure resources, materials and equipment allow for multiple uses, are sufficient in number, and enable every child to engage in play-based learning (acecqa.gov.au, 2008) – the perfect start to a Dynamic Learning Environment.

Outdoor spaces are a feature of Australian learning environments as they offer a multitude of sustainable learning opportunities that are unable to be replicated indoors. In order to develop a dynamic outdoor learning, the setting must be responsive and transformative to the needs of the children and nature. 

The developmental benefits of open-ended resources and spaces for children are clear and abundant, however there are also vast and varied financial benefits for the service.

Innovative use of spaces and smart choices in resources lead to positive outcomes across environments as illustrated below:

Keep an eye out for more information in the latest copy of engage: your inspiration publication.

References:

Acecqa.gov.au. (2008). The National Quality Standard. [online] Available at: http://www.acecqa.gov.au/national-quality-framework/the-national-quality-standard [Accessed 20 May 2015].

Scheer, D. (2019). What is biophilic design in architecture? | EarthTalk.org. Retrieved from https://earthtalk.org/biophilic-design-architecture/

Share:

Related Articles
  • Starting School Successfully
    Early Childhood Education - Educational Experience

    Positive relationships are key to a successful start to school. Adopting a relationship-based view of the transition to school process helps dynamic, reciprocal relationships develop that enable children to enjoy their experience.

  • Supporting Mental Health and Well-being in Childhood
    Developing Emotional Intelligence - Educational Experience

    Increasingly, we are seeing more and more children being hindered with mental health issues that affect their quality of life including social interactions, physical health and overall wellbeing. Early educators are in a unique and powerful position to be able to support children in gaining an awareness and understanding of mental health issues. Educating children by teaching practical strategies to recognise and manage their emotions will benefit children now and into their future adult lives.

  • Mathematics in the Early Years
    Early Childhood Education - Educational Experience

    Mathematics has been long regarded an important part of Early Childhood pedagogy. Since Friedrich Frobel founded the first kindergarten in 1837, he developed his ‘Spielgaben’ or ‘Gifts’ that embraced mathematical concepts of symmetry, shape and number. The series of gifts were the first ‘educational’ playthings and are made of natural materials and are open-ended, specifically designed to demonstrate the key concept of ‘unity’ that can be recognised in play.

  • Celebrating Father's Day
    Father's Day - Educational Experience

    The role of fathers in children’s lives is unique and the relationship between father and child is something to be treasured.  The 1st September is reserved to celebrate the invaluable contribution fathers and significant male figures make to families. Whether they’re called Daddy, Papa, Baba, Grandpa, Poppy, Pappoús, Opa, Uncle or Ujak, they hold a priceless place in the hearts and lives of children. Being a father is not necessarily connected to biology, rather the effort, commitment and genuine relationship established by a man who chooses to make a significant difference in a child’s life.

  • Sciencing: Exploring the 'S' in Steam
    STEAM - Educational Experience

    Early engagement in science stimulates the development of children’s identity as a science learner and an active participant in the processes of science.

  • Embrace Technology with Birde
    STEAM - Educational Experience

    Embracing technology with children has incredible scope to bring about 21st Century learning skills and new discoveries.