At Joseph Banks Education & Childcare, we learn just as much outdoors as we do in indoors because we feel it’s important for children to learn about their natural environment and how they can have a positive influence on their world. We make every attempt to teach the children that sustainability is so much more than just recycling, and while our children are great at recycling, we also want them to understand that they can take their sustainable practices further.
We’re so proud that our Forest Lake Centre children get the opportunity to participate in our Gardening Program. They learn how to grow vegetables, how to harvest the vegetables and then to reward themselves for their efforts, by preparing homemade treats from their produce.
Recently, the children grew their own lettuce in our garden and then made salad sandwiches in the kitchen. To ensure the lettuce crop was the best it could be, the children even produced their own compost, or as they like to refer to it, the “worm farm”, using food scraps from their lunches. From this, we were able to produce enough “worm juice” to keep our crop growing strong and healthy.
As Early Childhood Educators, we like to ensure that the children at Joseph Banks are also very aware of the importance of using electricity and how the system works. One of the ways of doing this was by including the children in our recent installation of solar panels on the roof.
We discussed with them, that we’re trying to be more sustainable and self-sufficient by taking advantage of the sun’s energy. The children were then asked to visually express their understanding by drawing pictures of how the solar panels work. We were very impressed with their interpretations and intake of the information!
When asked, “What do solar panels do?”
Brooke explained, “They keep the lights on so we are not in the dark.”
Alex said, “They make electricity to keep us safe.”
And Charlie happily replied, “So we can watch the TV!”
Experiences such as these, give the children pride in their accomplishments and provide valuable learning throughout the entire process, including:
- Increasing their continued interest in plant life cycles and environmental systems.
- Developing healthy eating habits and an appreciation for where food comes from.
- Developing their literacy and maths skills involved with caring for a crop and understanding how their natural envrionment works.
- Learning to engage with and contribute to their world.
- Learning the importance of respect, as they care for the land and share the whole experience together.
We couldn’t be prouder of our sustainable little Early Birds! Whether they go on to be gardeners, chefs, or even electrical engineers, our hope is that they’re able to pass on their awareness of sustainable practices, as well as their wild curiosity for the wonderful world around them!
Yours in Education & Childcare,
The Early Birds Team