Sustainability and Embedded Practice

Recently one of our Centre Managers, Joanne Cosentini, wrote a piece sharing some very practical examples of sustainable practice for Yorganop Newsletter in Western Australia. See below:

Log table

An effective sustainability program can only be achieved through whole-community participation. Our aim at Gold Creek is to embed sustainability into everyday practice by linking our practices to reflect those of our direct community.

Each community is unique, so it is essential to research your own local community. Once this information has been established, educators can then incorporate this members.

For our team at Gold Creek, we have gained confidence in our practices through embracing our Reconciliation Plan, and have also become more knowledgeable in terms of how the original owners of our land – the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – worked alongside their environment. 

We can learn from their guidance through the respect that they have for the land that we all share. This influence is valued and celebrated within our services. The importance of this vital partnership of land and human is a simple statement that clearly defines what we are all striving to achieve.

Learning Outcomes

Now reflecting on the outcomes below, we can see how sustainability is such an important factor in  all that we are trying to achieve.

Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity. This is why establishing strong links to the children’s community is essential. Knowing where we started and where we can go.
Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world. A strong connection through community is the respect and contribution we make to our own community and world.
Outcome 3: Children have a strong sense of wellbeing. To guide a strong sense of well being is to understand how things are grown and how caring for nature means ultimately caring for everyone.
Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners. Trusting the children to contribute and be apart of caring for their own environments.
Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators. Children will ultimately be the leaders of the future on sustainability issues.

Although using immediate community members is instrumental in the success of an effective sustainable service, we found that seeking assistance from ACTSmart, an ACT Government agency that promotes sustainability, was helpful. They provided us with comprehensive guidelines to help us understand what we could do to save water, power and reduce waste. We also found that resource information from the IPSU in WA helped us convert some documentation to practical hints for everyday practices. The collaboration of all these parties have contributed to us now obtaining an ACTSmart trophy for our contribution to actively recycling.

Practical Strategies

Below are some practical strategies that the centre has developed in their ongoing journey towards sustainable practice.

Sustainability meeting– We have formed a sustainability group. This group documents our journey and makes suggestions on how we can improve. The group formally meets every three months. But speak about the issues or exciting new ideas through team meetings and general discussions.

– Each room has a sustainability tree and every successful week of recycling the children will place a leaf on the tree. They then add a leaf to the main tree out in our main foyer to indicate they have completed a whole tree.

Sustainability tree

– We shop at recycle centres to buy used items for furniture such as an wooden ladder that is now our art shelf in the Preschool group. And this old painters bench made an ideal seat for children to sit to put their shoes on.

– We also use broken items in the centre like an old cot that we create into something new like a new desk.

– Sustainability is much more than a vegetable garden and paper recycling. Although we do have a veggie garden that the children grow and eat from , and we have a worm farm where we use compose scraps from the kitchen to feed our worms.

Recycled furniture– Our bins are not only a representative of our recycling but are also making a clear connection to the bins at every home in the ACT. Children then use this connection to educate their own families. We have someone from the recycling department come and educate the children on our role in recycling.

Joanne Cosentini
Centre Manager of Gold Creek World of Learning

 

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