Our Sustainable Year is a monthly calendar designed to highlight the sustainable practices carried out in the ECEC setting.
It is a monthly reminder to actively involve children in sustainable practices and activities as well as a record of the activities for parents and assessors to view.
Write stories, draw pictures or stick in photos to document your month.
At the end of the year, your planning and or/ reflections can go towards updating your Quality Improvement Plan for the year ahead.
Environmental Education for Sustainability (EEfS)
EEfS goes beyond “caring for the environment”. It is about the global social, cultural, and economic well-being of all people – as well as our planet, and the biodiversity that relies upon it. EEfS encompasses an overlapping matrix of global citizenship, democracy, and the environment.
In the context of the early years curriculum, EEfS involves ideas and practices associated with sustainability, climate change, critical thinking, identity, community, and kaitiakitanga.
One of the taonga of the Tiriti o Waitangi is kaitiakitanga, meaning stewardship, protection, and preservation. It is a way of respecting and caring for the environment, based on a Māori worldview.
There are three dimensions to EEfS, each suggesting a different role for learners and teachers. While the first two are important, it is working in the third dimension – education for the environment – where the impact of learning is most substantial and sustainable.
Teacher gardening with students
- Education in the environment – for example, visiting a place of environmental interest
- Education about the environment – for example, researching places, things, and events (including cultural narratives)
- Education for the environment – for example, tamariki as active citizens (civic actors) and agents of change with a degree of action competence to advocate for a healthy environment and society.1
We have based this monthly calendar on six of the Rs2 (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair, Respect and Reflect) which then leads on to planning for the next month.
Reduce is about reducing the consumption of food, materials, and resources, which may involve working with parents on the problem of children’s exposure to advertisements promoting endless consumption.
Reuse is about showing children that materials can be used many times for different purposes in the ECE setting and at home.
Recycle can be encouraged by asking children to bring recyclable materials to school and integrating them into a range of activities.
Repair involves taking care of broken toys and other objects and repairing them.
Respect is about nurturing understanding of and respect for nature and natural processes and reducing the extent to which they are violated.
Reflect is a habit and skill everybody will benefit from in working for sustainability. It is about thinking and talking about our actions and attitudes and how they can impact our world.
2 Based on extracts from I. Pramling Samuelsson and Y. Kaga, eds., The Contribution of Early Childhood Education to Sustainable Society (Paris: UNESCO, 2008)
*AUSTRALIA POST CHRISTMAS CUTOFF: Australia Post has advised that their cutoff for Christmas deliveries is December 13th (December 8th for WA and NT) for Standard Post and December 20th for Express Post (December 15th for WA and NT).