Education for Sustainability

Vanessa CourtEDEC383Margie TaylorApplication of the Principles of EFS in ECE-1500-2000 words???See Change???ACTION PLANThere are a lot of ideas to consider when it comes to waste minimization in an early childhood setting. Different areas of the establishment would have different ways to minimize waste and these could be used in conjunction with each other to redesign, reduce, reuse and recycle as much waste as possible.Developing a recycling booth is one idea that I had thought of for our centre and have begun to develop and discuss ideas with and alongside the children to promote awareness for waste minimization. Ministry of Action (1996) discuss how all people involved in the establishment should be included in decision making about the programme. I always encourage open discussions with the children and other staff as I value all their ideas and comments and it was discussed over many weeks how to implement the recycling booth into our environment. The parents were also involved with discussions and a couple of parents offered to help with the project by donating our tubs for the station and making our signs with the children.

One wall area will be covered with many different types of recycling products like news paper, yoghurt containers, jars, boxes etc. There will three recycling tubs donated by parents and placed on the floor in front of our recycling station sign and the process began.Ways to work in partnership with children We have a few waste minimization techniques in place that work really well for the centre.

At present we have a cook that prepares all our meals including morning and afternoon teas. All of her food scraps and the children??™s food scraps are placed into a special chicken bin and one of the teachers takes it home to be recycled into chicken food for her pet chickens. The children have been involved in recycling food for a while and know that the food is not thrown away but it is giving their left over food to the chickens. In exchange the teacher with chickens brings her eggs into the centre for our cook to use in the baking for the children. This is one way to work in partnership with the children and others in the community and to educate the children about one type of recycling.

According to Davis (1998), he suggests that both environmental education and early childhood education recognize the importance of developing strong links with teachers, learners and their communities. He also talks about the attitudes, values and skills and the importance of knowledge, and to be critical thinkers and learners. According to Chawdla and Flanders Cushing, (2007), ???the ultimate objective of environmental education is peoples active involvement in working toward the resolution of environmental problems???. If educators like myself can express their concerns of the environment and how the children can help prevent an unsustainable future then these young children will have the appropriate knowledge to help sustain our environment successfully for their future.

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Another idea we have implemented into our centre to build partnerships with the children and community was deciding together with the children about what are possible products could be recycled. Discussions at mat times were where we developed a list for the children to take home to find the different products to bring in to be recycled. Once they had collected their recycling and placed it into our recycling booth we then organized a visit to the local recycling plant situated locally in Meleme Street not far from our centre. The children got to see where all the recycling is taken to and how it is sorted into the different sections. This reinforced the concept of recycling for the children and encouraged the practices to be used at home with the children??™s family/whanau as well as at the centre.Suggestions for policies and practices/Strong values An enormous change at happened in my centre was helping parents and children realize the effects of plastic bags on our environment and I successfully implemented material bags instead of plastic bags into our preschool environment earlier in the year.

As a consequence of no plastic bags in our environment that was very successful with parents and families/whanau, it was suggested for our policies and practice to implement a policy for the centre to reinforce this importance of education for sustainability in our practice. Davis (1998) talks about ???Playing for Keeps??™ and I believe that ???Enviroschools??™ has made a massive impact on education and ???education for sustainability??™. See Change (2004), document stated, ???being passionate about what you feel is important for success, a strong values base???. I believe I was passionate about this issue that I raised and being passionate, having knowledge and being strong about what you believe will give people cause to listen to you, learn about what you have to say and react.Changes to routines can be a great benefit to our environment. For example, We are teaching the children that instead of throwing away your yoghurt pots that are not always recycled, why not reuse these as pots to plant seeds into Showing children diversity in the way we can reuse products can also educate them on education for sustainability. There and many products that can be reused to be made into many other products to minimize waste in our centres.

Changing routines is not hard if it is reinforced regularly and this can lead to a life style change that benefits the environment as well as the world.Some changes to the environment that I saw at Papamoa Coast Kindergarten were using a water butt or tank to collect rain water for the children to water the plants or use for water play. This water is usually drained into the storm water drains, but if collected it can be used in many ways including reducing your own water usage as well as costs. We do have a vegetable garden at our centre and at present we are educating the children about growing their own food and our cook also uses the food we grow in our meals. We noticed the children talking about plants and developing ideas around plants so together with another teacher we discussed how we could develop the interest further.

The children decided it would be a good idea to grow some flowers, seeds and vegetables. Another colleague and I talked with the children about the different plants they would like to grow and why we were to grow them. We all came up with many plant ideas and great reasons why we should grow plants. We took the children down to the local Shops and the y bought many different plants for our garden including some seeds.

Once back at the centre we have together planted the plants with the children and now we are caring for them so that the children can cook the food and share it with everyone in the centre.Possible learning experiences Developing possible learning experiences for children in early childhood education can lead to children becoming reflective thinkers and develop proactive ideas and values about their environment and the way they want to see it and care for it. The Ministry for the environment (2010), discusses waste management and the ???Waste Minimisation Act??™ was introduced in 2008 to encourage the amount of waste and to minimisation and decrease waste disposal in New Zealand??™. ???Under the Act, a $10 per tonne levy (excluding GST) on all waste disposed of to landfill was imposed from 1 July 2009???. They introduced this levy to give people cause to think about their amount of waste and the rethink what waste can be reduced, reused and recycled within the household.

Critical thinking/ Learning for life As well as passion you need Critical thinking and reflective learning. Education for sustainability encourages us to question the different aspects of the world and the environment that can directly and indirectly affect us now or in the future. ???Critical thinking is important??™ (PCE, 2004). Educating children and helping them to understand how the environment needs us to change for it to become sustainable for us to live in in the future is vital.

There are many different learning experiences that we can have as teachers who are consistently developing our professional knowledge. Our University trip to Papamoa Coast Kindergarten was very educating for me and I observed many environmentally sustainable practices that would be of benefit to our centre. This kindergarten is one of the few Kindergartens involved with Enviroschools and they are educating the children for Learning for life. I believe that everyone should be involved with education for sustainability including Preschools, day cares, Kohanga reo, schools, businesses, communities, local councils and governments. The Enviroschools organization that was developed in 1993 in the Waikato region with 3 participating schools and it has now become very successful with hundreds of schools all around New Zealand involved in learning about education for sustainability.

Enviroschools experimentated with a range of environmental action projects in these 3 schools and found it to be very successful with many people coming on board to support the organisation. Enviroschools state, ??? At the heart of the development of this programme are the strong connections between people; the trusting relationships, the commitment to long-term change and a culture of creativity and sharing???.Future focused/participation Environmentalists believe that being Future focused is not about correcting the practices that are wrong or have been wrong but about encouraging children to learn about education for sustainability and encouraging them to contribute to the positive outcomes that already exist in our environments. Getting children involved in the decision making gives them ownership of their environment in their centre, as well as positive guidance, scaffolding from the educators can lead to improved practices. Getting children to participate in the practices reinforces the learning and allowing them participation and freedom of their ideas and values allows them to have their say and express their views in the environment they live in. According to PCE (2004), public views are what can change the sustainability of our world and public support and participation is more likely to develop any long term visions if the understanding is clear and commitment leads to implementing long term solutions to our changes. PCE, (2004) talks about communities being empowered and needing to take responsibility for these issues themselves. And, also talks about government and businesses having short term time frames for ideas.

Personal and social responsibility for action relies on the everyday actions of individuals, lifestyle choices and demands can limit resources and impact on the quality of our social and natural worlds. So, educating the people in the communities will develop longer and more sustainable solutions for the future of our environment.Learning across boundaries in education for sustainability requires people to share their knowledge, ideas and views about sustainability, recognize these as valued judgments and not to discriminate against other people views and ideas. Just because children are small does not mean that they can not have ideas and values and learn to change their habits and routines for the future of the environment. I believe that if we developed responsibility and awareness in children as young as 2, 3 and 4, letting them understand the importance of waste management in the Early childhood sector, that this will develop and grow with them as sustainable thinkers, learners and reflectors for our future.Transformative The purpose of education for sustainability is to transform the children??™s ideas and values about waste management and the future of the world and our environment. It is about saving humanity as well as saving the world. Educating children appropriately about the importance of environmental issues for our world is important, children need to know why and how they can contribute to making the environment sustainable for us to live in in the future.

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, (2004), talks about education for sustainability becoming an individual and systemic change that will help us to resolve unsustainable practices. The internet can provide many easy and practical ideas for teachers to implement with children and All Brite a local recycling company has a very informative web site for Recycling for Kids. It also has many other addresses for websites that will assist educators in their work with young children.Personal and social responsibility for action < Relies on the everyday actions of individuals, lifestyle choices and demands can limit resources and impact on the quality of our social and natural worlds.List of resources for use with childrenUseful websites and organization locallyRecycling Resources & Sources to use with childrenThere is a wealth of information on recycling (and sustainable business practices) available from a variety of organizations. Here are some good ones to get started.BusinessCare Trust?  www.businesscare.

org.nzCanberra ACT NoWast www.nowaste.act.

gov.auEnvision New Zealand www.envision-nz.comGrass Roots Recycling Network www.grrn.orgInstitute for Local Self-Reliance www.

ilsr.orgMinistry for the Environment www.mfe.

govt.nzRecycling Operators of New Zealand Your Rubbish www.reducerubbish.govt.nzResources for the Future www.

rff.orgSteel Can Recycling

nzSustainable Business Network Natural Step (TNS) Waste Exchange Portal www.

S. Environmental Protection Agency www.epa.govWaste Not Ltd?

nzWasteMINZ Waste International Alliance www.

zwia.orgZero Waste New Zealand Trust the ripple effectREFERENCESDavis, J. (1998).

Young children, environmental education, and the future. Early childhood education journal, 26(2), 177-123. University of Canterbury ReaderParliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. (2004). See Change, Retrieved on September 12th, 2010, from: www.pce.parliament.

nz/…/see-change- learning-and-education-for-sustainabilityEnviroschools, (2010).

Retrieved on 12th September 2010, from: Minimisation Act.

(2008). Retrieved on 14th September 2010 from:

htmlChawla, L. & Flanders Cushing, D. (2007). Education for strategic environmental behaviour.

Environmental Education ResearchRecycling for Kids. (2010). All Brite. Retrieved on 16th September 2010 from:…/recycling_for_kids/index.htm


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