Children and educators: Out and about creating a sustainable future
Capel Sounds Educational Child Care Centre was awarded the Excellent rating in February. The Mornington Peninsula based service, the first service to be awarded the rating in 2023, demonstrated practices that align with the refreshed Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Framework for Australia (EYLF).
The refreshed Framework recognises that:
Educators and children have important and active roles to play in creating and promoting sustainable communities. Broadly defined, sustainability spans environmental, social, and economic dimensions which are intertwined. (EYLF page 17).
The Capel Sounds service secured a grant application through the Port Phillip Bay Fund, with Capel Sounds Foreshore Management Team endorsement, to commence a ‘Children on the Bay’ project. Two local primary schools and two preschools also joined the project, which included conservation education sessions from Capel Sounds Rangers and Melbourne Water. The project involved all children:
- Planting spinifex along the foreshore.
- Participating in community litter collection and audits to reduce microplastics entering the local waterways.
- Working with the local Men’s Shed and First Nations artists to create and decorate A-frames with buckets and tongs, to enhance community involvement in foreshore rubbish collection.
The services collaborative partnership actions have led to the inclusion of numerous schools, early childhood services and community organisations and representatives through project work focused on education, conservation and economic sustainability, relationships and social connections, and care for Country.
The refreshed Framework also acknowledges the importance of responsiveness to children, noting that:
Educators are attuned to, and respond in ways that best suit, each child’s strengths, capabilities and curiosity. Knowing, valuing and building on all children’s strengths, skills and knowledge strengthens their motivation and engagement in learning. (EYLF page 21).
Aligning with the practice of responsiveness to children, the Capel Sounds service developed and implemented an ‘Out and About’ program. This cross-service program responds to spontaneous child and family suggestions and demonstrates how children’s voices are actively used to drive the educational program. Every child participates in getting out and about, including the very young. The program is reflected in the service philosophy and supports the service’s strong belief of the benefits for children of spending valuable time outdoors exploring, learning, and making connections to the land and local community.
You can read more about the service and other Excellent rated services on the ACECQA website.
We Hear You , the ACECQA blog, contains feature articles and guest posts from a variety of contributors offering unique perspectives from the children's education and care sector.