the children to connnect week 3


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  1. 1. CHCECE012 Support Children to connect with their world Section 3 – Nature education: strategies to increase children’s experiences and understanding of animals and the natural environment
  2. 2. Section 3: Nature Education In this section you will have the opportunity to:- § Learn about ways to help children explore flora, fauna and other aspects of the natural environment § Identify sustainable practices relevant to education and care services that relate to waste and water § Develop an understanding of aboriginal connections to land, country and environment
  3. 3.  “Early childhood is a great time to involve children in education for sustainability and develop lifelong practices to ensure the respect and protection of our planet. We believe a sense of wonder, belonging to and love of the natural environment, living things and animals is critical for young children to develop lifelong respectful, positive and proactive attitudes towards protecting our environment, caring for all living creatures and creating a sustainable environment”  Catherine Lee (2009) Nature education can also be referred to as “Education for Sustainability” or “Learning for Sustainability”
  4. 4. • Looks at using the outdoor environment and natural resources to extend children’s understanding and appreciation of their environment. • Allows children to experience the wonder and magic of nature through exploring, feeling, sensing, and experimenting. • Uses the environment as a medium for education. Education in the environment
  5. 5. • Providing meaningful opportunities and experiences for children to learn about how ecosystems work • Helping children understand the complexity of current environmental issues • Assisting children to understand and explore sustainable practices and efficient use of resources Education about the environment
  6. 6. • Encouraging children to think about the social changes needed to resolve environmental issues – e.g. Separating rubbish, recycling, plastic free lunch boxes Education for the environment
  7. 7. • Research shows that the first 8 years of a child’s life are the most critical period for learning and development. • Our world is undergoing massive environmental changes and challenges that we all need to acknowledge. • The children of today are the adults of tomorrow. They will be responsible for problem solving, planning and implementing goals and solutions. Why is nature education so important in early childhood?
  8. 8. “Climate change will directly affect the lives of young children both now and in the future. It would be irresponsible for us not to share this information with children, to give them the opportunity to learn how their actions impact on the health of the planet. This knowledge enables children to learn how to be part of the climate change solution and teaches them that they can make a difference.” Tracy Young “Why do young children need to know about climate change?”  Early Childhood Australia, Every Child, 2007 Links to research
  9. 9. • Give our children time to “belong” and “just be” with nature everyday. • Embed a deep connection with nature and sustainability into our curriculum and see it in action in our daily practice. • Connect with each other, the land and the traditional custodians of our land to nourish our souls and experience our shared culture and history Our responsibility
  10. 10. Belonging knowing where and with whom you belong is integral to human existence. Children belong first to a family, a cultural group, a neighbourhood and a wider community. Being recognises the significance of the here and now in children’s lives. It is about the present and them knowing themselves, building and maintaining relationships with others, engaging with life’s joys and complexities, and meeting challenges in Links to the EYLF
  11. 11. Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework. Commonwealth of Australia 2009 “Outdoor learning spaces foster an appreciation of the natural environment, develop environmental awareness and provide a platform for ongoing environmental education... Environments and resources can also highlight our responsibilities Links to the EYLF
  12. 12.  Develop secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships.  Develop partnerships  Have high expectations and strive for equity  Respect diversity  Invest in ongoing learning and reflective practices EYLF Principles
  13. 13. • Adopt holistic approaches to teaching and learning - recognise the connectedness of mind, body and spirit • Be responsive to children and value and build on children’s strengths, skills and knowledge to ensure their motivation and engagement in learning. • Plan and implement and learn through play • Engage in intentional teaching and recognise that learning occurs in social contexts and that interactions and conversations are vitally important for learning. • Create physical and social environments that have a positive impact on children’s learning. • Value the cultural and social contexts of children and their families and the community • Provide for continuity of learning to enable successful transitions • Assess and monitor learning EYLF Practices
  14. 14. The National Quality Standards (NQS) (ACECQA, 2011) supports the implementation of sustainability in early childhood services. Quality Area 3: Physical environment Standard 3.3 The service takes an active role in caring for its environment and contributes to a sustainable future. Element 3.3.1 Sustainable practices are embedded in service operations. Links to the NQS
  15. 15. Article 29 Goals of education Children’s education should develop each child’s personality, talents and abilities to the fullest. It should encourage children to respect others, human rights and their own and other cultures. It should also help them learn to live peacefully, protect the environment and respect other people. Children have a particular responsibility to respect the rights of their parents, and education should aim to develop respect for the values and culture of their parents. United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
  16. 16. Natural playspaces
  17. 17.  Play is a vital part of childhood and growing up. Children learn through play to develop social, physical and emotional skills. Providing children with an outdoor learning environment that incorporates areas for quiet, natural, creative, active and stimulating play will allow children to learn whilst using their imagination. By inviting a child to use their initiative and explore possibilities we provide them with the best opportunities to learn.  The National Quality Standard (NQS) for Early Natural playspaces
  18. 18. What possibilities do the following environments offer to children?
  19. 19. Opportunities to explore and discover....
  20. 20. To experience a sense of wonder...
  21. 21.  Allow children to be spontaneous, active and creative.  Provide for children of all ages and abilities, and for boys and girls alike.  Promote light, moderate or vigorous physical activity that supports children’s growth and development. Natural playspaces
  22. 22. Play is a vital part of childhood and growing up. Children learn through play to develop social, physical and emotional skills. Providing children with an outdoor learning environment that incorporates areas for quiet, natural, creative, active and stimulating play will allow children to learn whilst using their imagination. By inviting a child to use their initiative and explore possibilities we provide them with the best opportunities to learn Handout – Kidsafe factsheet – Natural Playspaces Why provide natural playspaces?
  23. 23. “If we want children to flourish, we need to give them time to connect with nature and love the Earth before we ask them to save it.” David Sobel, MEd Project Director Antioch New England Institute Reflection
  24. 24. We know that reconnecting babies, toddlers and young children to the natural world:  is crucial for their optimal intellectual and physical development;  provides a sense of refuge and healing in a sometimes violent and frightening world;  helps them grow into adults who care about environmental stewardship; and,  nurtures a sense of shared community among the world’s peoples. (NACC, 2007) Connecting to nature....
  25. 25.  Creating a butterfly garden  Choose a sunny, sheltered butterfly garden location. Plants and butterflies need sun to thrive. If possible locate the butterfly garden on the north side of a building, wall, shrubs or trees to shelter it from wind that may blow tall plants over.  Never use pesticides to eliminate “harmful” insects as butterflies and their caterpillar larvae will also be killed.  Butterflies are attracted to masses of colour Provisions and experiences
  26. 26.  In 1870 the Richmond birdwing was reported as being common in the Brisbane area and in northern NSW. Today, its rainforest habitat has been extensively cleared with less than one per cent of the original area still in existence. Permanent populations of the Richmond birdwing no longer exist in the Brisbane area and is threatened in northern NSW.  The Richmond birdwing lays eggs singly or in small clusters (up to three) on native Pararistolochia vines.The larvae are entirely dependent fon these vines for food. The caterpillars only leave these plants to complete their development as a pupa and emerge as an adult butterfly.  Eggs are also laid on the introduced Dutchman's pipe Aristolochia elegans but the leaves are toxic and kill the larvae.  Planting the native vines the caterpillar feeds on will help prevent the butterfly from becoming extinct Richmond Birdwing Butterflies
  27. 27.  Sensory gardens provide intimate spaces where young children can be immersed in the scents, textures and colours of plants and related elements. Along with specially selected plants, sensory gardens may also include elements such as wind chimes, wind socks, flags, and children’s art. One popular form of a sensory garden is a sensory pathway. Sensory gardens............
  28. 28. Sensory gardens
  29. 29.  Sensory pathways can be constructed of smooth, flat, stepping stones or tree cookies with gaps wide enough for in-between planting. Stepping stones can be natural stone or concrete or made by children to include hand prints, leaf prints, shells, marbles, coloured tile mosaics, or smooth glass. Glass blocks or clay bricks can be laid in the sensory pathway to add additional sensory richness and variety. Sensory pathways
  30. 30.  Gardening with children provides numerous opportunities for hands-on learning, inquiry, observation, and experimentation. Gardening also helps children build an understanding of and respect for nature and our environment.  When children participate in growing edible plants, they are more motivated to taste, eat, and enjoy fruits and vegetables. Vegetable and edible gardens
  31. 31.  Locate the garden in a sunny spot, not too far from the building. Having the garden close to the centre of activity makes it easier to keep an eye out for weeds, insect pests, watering needs, and ripe vegetables during harvest time.  Before deciding where to locate your garden, pay attention to the sun patterns in your outdoor space for a few days. Which area gets the most afternoon sun in the summer? Is that spot relatively flat and accessible? If so, it may be the best location for your new garden. Location
  32. 32. Vegetable gardens
  33. 33.  Container gardening is an easy, low cost, and child-friendly approach for growing fresh edible produce at child care centres.  Children delight in growing and eating their own food and research shows that repeated exposure to healthy food options increases the likelihood of establishing healthy eating habits. Whether the centre staff want to grow a few tasty herbs, a pot of strawberries, or lettuce and tomatoes for delicious salads, there are four keys for successful edible container gardening. Container gardening
  34. 34.  Selecting containers  Selecting suitable plants  Selecting the right soil or potting mix  Providing the right growing conditions  Invite the children to help plant, water, and tend the garden and you will be growing healthy children for Growing in containers
  35. 35.  Natural materials, or natural loose parts, afford an array of open-ended play and learning opportunities, such as building, sorting, counting, and dramatic play. The availability of some natural loose parts, such as acorns and flowers, change with the seasons, while others, such as stones and branches, are available year round. Some outdoor learning environments are rich with natural loose parts, while others may require teachers and children to gather and bring in natural loose parts to supplement their outdoor learning environments. Natural materials for play and learning
  36. 36.  bamboo poles, bark chip, straw bales, small stones, log stumps, trimmed branches, pine cones, leaves, seeds, nuts, flowers, wood chips, shells............what can you add to this list? Natural materials
  37. 37. Little Explorers Early Learning Centre was established in Case study
  38. 38.  Stepping stones can be made using quick set cement. Collect 4 litre ice cream containers to use as moulds and decorate with non slip mosaic tiles, handprints, leaves or whatever the children think of...... For more detailed instructions refer to Handout 2 – Kidsafe factsheet – stepping stones Making stepping stones
  39. 39.  Excursions are a great way to expose children to natural environments. Excursions can be as simple as a walk to the park or community garden or a day visit to a rainforest, beach, botanic garden or recycling centre.  Remember to do a risk assessment prior to the excursion  Read the regulations carefully to ensure that you comply with child:adult ratios and travel safety. Excursions
  40. 40.  Activity  Think about your local area, Plan a “walkabout” excursion – what natural resources could you focus the children’s attention on? How could you record the experience?
  41. 41.  Take advantage of animals that visit your service and use these special visitors as a learning experience  Set up bird, owl and possum boxes to attract wildlife to your outdoor space  Discover which insects and spiders live in your playground Creating habitats for wildlife
  42. 42. Activity What could you do to connect children with wildlife in your area? View:- http://www.earlychildhoodaustrali Part 3 Handout 3 EYLF PLP Newsletter No 11 2011 – learning Spaces 1 - Outdoors Wildlife habitats
  43. 43.  Talk to children about waste and encourage them to think of ways to minimise waste in the service  Paper making  Making bio pots  Separating rubbish and saving food scraps for worms and chickens  Encourage “nude food” lunch boxes Managing waste sustainably in Children’s Services
  44. 44.  Where possible use recycled paper for children’s activities.  Use both sides of the paper if possible  Send newsletters to parents electronically  Source recycled paper for photocopying  Use recycled materials and buy second hand equipment where possible  Activity-How could you involve children at playsession in reducing waste? Managing waste sustainably in children’s services
  45. 45.  Many centres are installing rain water tanks as a step towards sustainability. This can be used as a stating point for further discussion and learning for children, educators, families and community.  Rous Water has a “Water Aware” program available in Byron, Ballina, Lismore and the Richmond Valley. Barbara Jensen from Rous Water visits services and provides a program including:-  1.An interactive educational session for children  2.A water audit followed by discussion with staff Conserving water
  46. 46. Wollongbar Preschool worked hard to improve water usage. Over a number of years the preschool introduced Case study – Wollongbar Preschool A 5 star water aware centre
  47. 47. Case study – Wollongbar preschool  Water tanks for indoor and outdoor use  Children’s ideas on water conservation after Rous Water
  48. 48. The environmentally sustainable strategies were not restricted to water use. The educators, with the help of the Wollongbar preschool sustainable strategies
  49. 49.  Focussing on relationships with family, community and nature helps children to be connected to and contribute to their world –an important part of this connection is respect for diversity.  Learning environments that mimic natural outdoor environments and use natural materials provide unique opportunities to encourage creative play, and help children develop imagination and problem solving skills. They are important in connecting children to country and to nature  Some thoughts on creating inclusive spaces for Aboriginal children:- Don’t underestimate the ‘value of visuals’- having appropriate images that depict real life Aboriginal families and connections’ Value of ‘oral traditions- our people often tell stories while drawing in the sand, so there is an oral, aural and visual depiction of events. ‘Written materials – don’t go very far- find different ways of Aboriginal connections
  50. 50.  Educators might display posters, artefacts, artwork, flags and welcome signs with multicultural perspectives, but we need to ask the questions:  Why are they there? Are they reflective of educator’s genuine attitudes towards inclusion and equity?  ‘Inclusion is not just what you do, but also the spirit behind what you do- how and why you do it’(Sims, 2009).  If the educators lack culturally competent attitudes, one can only deduce that these environment provisions and displays are What is Tokenism and how can we move from tokenism to cultural competence?
  51. 51. Remember the Indigenous First Peoples of this nation and their traditional ways of caring for the earth. Find out about the traditional owners of the land your setting is on and how their culture worked in harmony with the local environment. In respectful ways, and in collaboration with local Indigenous organisations, investigate bush tucker and grow traditional plants. Learn about the highly significant rituals of Indigenous peoples and build children’s Cultural Competence
  52. 52. At Wiradjuri Preschool and Child Care Centre, for example, educators realised that an ancient tree in the playground was becoming dangerous. Because they and the children were aware of the history and culture of the area, they recognised that ‘the tree is linked to this land’. Instead of removing the tree, they decided to fence it, have it professionally monitored for safety and use the space for regular smoking ceremonies conducted by
  53. 53. It becomes clear that ‘using the natural’ enhances children’s aesthetic, cognitive and social growth. Nature provides a base that encourages curiosity and the drive to learn new things; it’s a vital element in an inquiry- driven approach to learning in early In conclusion
  54. 54. Real mud, real plants, real animals and real materials to work with give children connection, confidence and challenge; they also demonstrate that ‘learning can happen anywhere, anytime ...
  55. 55. creating orderly and inspiring learning environments can be as simple as:  planting a tree or a hedge  removing clutter and throwing out damaged equipment  incorporating natural
  56. 56.  Children grow healthier, wiser, and more content when they are more fully connected throughout their childhood to the natural environment in as many educational and recreational settings as possible. These benefits are long term and significant and