Too much emphasis is put on Sustainability as a priority by The Australian Curriculum which can relate to and can connect to contents that are important and relevant aspect of learning different Subjects and areas. The students of our school will develop the values, knowledge, skills and world views by placing importance on sustainability, which is significant in contributing to the living pattern which will be sustainable. Through the program, every student of our school will be able to understand the concept of giving back to the nature and society by the interpretation and engagement with the today’s world. In the current year of 2020, our school focuses more on providing sustainability education which is more oriented toward the future and focuses on the environment (United Nations Educational, 2012).
The Vision of our school is “Dream Big” which means that we think not only about the present growth, but also takes into consideration about the future growth. What we see as growth is not only on the personal front of a student but society as a whole. The goal of our school is efficient resources management and sustainable practice integration to provide more sustainable life, by imparting education and motivating the school community as a whole (UNESCO, 2017).
Importance of education for sustainable development with reference to the Early Years Learning Framework and the Australian Framework
Australia with other countries like the Netherlands, Switzerland, Japan and Canada has joined in a movement for including sustainability in the national curriculum and to make an attempt for the future which will be more sustainable for generations through coming by education.
The expectations which are highest from birth to five years in the learning’s of all children is conveyed through the framework. Following five learning outcomes communicates these expectations:-
- Sense of identity is very strong in children.
- The connection and contribution to the world is present in the children.
- Sense of well being is also strong in the children.
- Children are very active and involved learners as well as confident.
- Children can communicate effectively.
Below is the pictorial diagram for Early Years Learning Framework Elements for better understanding:
Directions in a broad manner to the school in settings of early childhood is provided by the Framework for children’s learning promotion. It works as a guide for our school by helping in making decisions for our curriculum and it also helps in checking the quality in early childhood settings by planning, implementing and evaluating it. Focussed and specific curriculum which can be important to our local school community and early childhood settings is also implemented by it.
“Addressing the ongoing capacity of Earth to maintain life” is defined as sustained by Australian Curriculum. Systems, World Views and Futures are three main categories of Sustainability Curriculum divisions (Australian Government, 2009).
There is a need for actions which are drastic throughout at all societal levels like businesses, schools, communities and government. To prepare kids to enable them to lead and live more sustainable lives, imparting education in kids of all age groups and schooling level is included.
Creation of School’s Philosophy and broad aims of the environmental sustainability vision
The vision of our school is “Dream Big” and it is only possible if we as a team can work for the educational sustainability and making the school children eco-literate and prepare for a better future.
Anticipatory thinking, foresight or transgenerational thinking is few terms used for future thinking. Future thinking is required for sustainability and its includes the ability to analyze collectively, evaluate and draw pictures related to the future issues of sustainability and problem solving frameworks for sustainability (Alliance, 2014).
Our school knows the importance of educating the school children concept of sustainability and making them eco-literate, who in turn will educate their parents and society. Our school philosophy is to consider the futures which are logical in a broad range, such that the society can be educated and a more sustainable future can be created. By starting to engage students, especially those in the age group of 3-6 years to 12 years, finite numbers of outcomes of actions and decisions, futures thinking can be used in the classroom.
We will also like to implement scenarios in our school teachings wherein, the teachers use tools and means to implement for helping students in expanding their ways of thinking about how the world from today’s world, that is a world from 2020 world will be and what will it contain for them (Solway Primary School, 2015).
Our teachers while teaching sustainability in the classroom are confident and they also by implementing and using its principles in the entire school, broaden their engagement. The next step in this process is identifying the stakeholders in our own school community and by identifying the ways of getting them involved.
In the school, the importance of imparting complete knowledge and making the child a whole child is recognized. Other than high expectations of the achievements of a student in Literacy and Numeracy is maintained, but also based on developmental approach, the rich and accurate curriculum is created and innovated by encouraging our students. The school community supports and put high value on these programs, which are achieved through the provision of quality specialist programs in The Arts, Physical Education, Science, Reading Recovery,and Spanish Language. A lot of attention is given for imparting education to students about healthy living, with the help of promotion of healthy eating habits and exercise, balanced lifestyles is promoted as well as being an active citizen (Connor, 2014).
In the year 2016, with the support of our School Principal Mrs. Anna Wilson, a Sustainability Committee was formed with the help of a few parents who were passionate about educational sustainability and experienced teachers of the school, thus by focussing on the issues of sustainability. The school in the same year also signed the ReourceSmart AuSSI Vic initiatives which can provide us a structure and systems, by helping with sustainability goals achieving.
By the utilization of five distinct learning modules, in clear terms, ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic sets out the methods used by the school in achieving sustainability targets. For each of the initiative’s module areas like waste, energy, water, biodiversity, individual working groups which were responsible for it, were set up by the Sustainability Committee. A representative teacher was allotted to each group in leading them and to look after our environment. The students will be taught the ways and methods of applying educational sustainability at home and school (AESA, 2016).
In the month of July 2020, our school was given a 5 Star school certification, the top certification of ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic schools.
Our Committee for Sustainability consist of 24 members out of which 4 are school teachers and rest are students’ parents. The teachers of the committee conduct classes from grade KG to Grade Six. In a term, the committee meets two times and on a regular basis report to the council of the school. One of the teacher Fionna, who is the Sustainability Coordinator conducts kindergarten, grade two and three classes, also supervise the Team of Student Sustainability Team, which consist of 15 grade five children and two student captains heads it.
By the year 2020, the energy usage per student has fallen down by the time Educational Sustainability was started in the year 2016, surprisingly the number of total strength of the school children has grown. This initiative is helping the school in saving the money inculcating habit which is good for the students. By learning such habits in school, they also initiate it at their home and influence their parents and the society in which they live.
By using design for energy efficient building and solar panels, 44 photovoltaic solar panels were installed on the roof as our school first sustainability project and generating energy around 4.2 kilowatts. The creation of energy by the solar panels in the school hall, helps in saving money and reducing the power bills (Sustainability Victoria, 2013).
Students keep on reminding the school community about the usage of energy by their acts and also tell their parents to switch off the lights and save energy if not using it. Such kind of learnings and education is imparted in our school. We have shared our journey on Sustainability with other schools. Our students feel proud about it and share their knowledge and experiences with other groups.
One of our weekly initiative is Wednesday Walk wherein students are encouraged to either walk or ride to the school. It will help in reducing the carbon footprints of school’s by minimizing the journey by car.
Our school for sustainability projects has won many grants and prizes for its work on sustainability. From the year 2020, teachers are going to increase their share of responsibilities by collaborating more with the parents of the Sustainable Ccommitttee.
In regard to our school vision which is “Dream Big” we would like to include and take into consideration few below mentioned points to explain and describe what exactly our school would like to be in the future from now, that is 2020 and elements which we have included or will like to take into consideration while doing so:
Over the last few decades due to the increase in usage of software in education sector, the requirements and means of the educational process, have changed tremendously. Before 2020, teacher-controlled approach was used, which since 2020 has changed to learner-directed approach in terms of learning composition of environment, planning learning goals and learning resources. Our school, through settings like formally or informally, helps learners in following their personal path of learning on one hand, while on the other hand, it guides them to change and shape the learning settings collectively (Bajer, 2012).
The ecology learning concept gives a full package on all round development of a person. It supplies an all inclusive and whole perspective on learning, development and achievement.
The ways and medium through which we can merge and connect our learning and experiences of past and current are provided by ecological learning (Goleman, Bennett, & Barlow, 2013).
In ecological literacy, students are prepared ready by providing competencies and knowledge which are important to show that essential and complicated issues related to the environment can be addressed in an integrated way. It also assists them in formation of a society which is sustainable without undermining the ecosystem, it is dependent on (Normak, Pata, & Kaipainen, 2010).
Ecological literacy equips students with the knowledge and competencies necessary to address complex and urgent environmental issues in an integrated way, and enables them to help shape a sustainable society that does not undermine the ecosystems upon which it depends (Bennett, 2017).
Young kids can suggest ideas which are sensible and realistic for management of the local environment by providing professional support and practical experience. For this purpose, young children should be targeted by imparting Ecoliteracy knowledge by understanding their surroundings and environment. Ecoliteracy benefits students by maintaining and building healthy relationship with each other and the environment. With the help of ecoliteracy, all the students can be nurtured in an appropriate age and focussing on emotional integration, ecological and social intelligence, affective and emotional abilities can be promoted (Lifewide Magazine, 2016).
The concept of ethical perspectives and articulate the benefits of children and young people learning about environmental justice and becoming active citizens for change.
Concept of Ethical perspective
Ethical perspective is one of the essential elements of educational sustainability. It helps in problem identification and defining it, helps in systematic thinking, promote young students and kids to evaluate an issue from every perspective and angle, as well as also supports in decision making guidelines (Johnson, 2006).
The importance of imparting quality education is gaining more attention of people because everybody is concerned and aware about the current situation and environment. The demand about the awareness of educational sustainability has increased and hence there is a need to provide an ethical perspective about it. The world is transforming due to social, cultural, technological and environmental changes and hence due to it, there is a change in the demand of the education system and learners (World YOUTH Report, 2003). There are complex issues which need to be attended, keeping in mind the ethical considerations like rights related to animals, human, environment etc.
Throughout each and every stage of schooling, ethical understanding building will help students in resolving issues which will be encountered in the future. By becoming an active citizen, students can recognize the ethical issue’s complexities and how to handle it. They can do reasoning and can make judgements based on this reasoning. Young students and children can become active citizens and can be inovled in their community and can build a better world (Consultancy, 2008).
Four Pillars of Education for Sustainability
Vibrant Culture, responsibility towards the environment, social justice and economic prosperity are the four pillars of sustainability. Similarly like natural resources, cultural, human and capital resources are also limited. But if we adopt a thinking system, balanced mindset, a sustainable action can be ensured surrounding these pillars.
Our school’s sustainable committee has worked very hard in the current year 2020 and has given some fruitful results. The school was associated with installation of solar panels, starting to walk a Wednesday campaign, ReourceSmart AuSSI Vic initiatives etc. to name a few (Shaeffer, 2014).
Our school’s Education for Sustainability is an integral part of our sustainable development.
Our school vision, Dream Big focuses on how we can shape our future. By restoring and maintaining the natural systems of Earth, our school community gets empowered. By promoting sustainable lifestyles, our student wellbeing is supported (Aspinall, 2017).
Our Environment sustainability vision holds a strong place in the future. Today’s young students will be the citizens of tomorrow and by imparting educational sustainability in them, say 15-20 years from today, i.e. 2020, they will become a responsible citizen of tomorrow. They will care for each other and will give respect to social justice and peace. The will work for the betterment of natural resources and optimum utilization of it. They will give utmost value to the overall development and also satisfy everybody’s needs. Their decision making will be more strong and fair and democratic in nature.
By providing education in the subjects like mathematics, art, social science, etc., the students will learn about the particular subjects and later will use them in their day to day life.
It is the responsibility of our schools’ science and general teachers to tell the students how to develop and learn curiosity sense. Like, in Biology, where entire subject is about the evolution of life, how certain creatures came into existence, process of the photosynthesis, etc. This can create curiosity among the students and by learning the process of life and other natural phenomenon, they can understand the concept of give and take. They will understand the world, if we put them in their natural surroundings. The students can observe and increase their senses (Aspinall, 2017).
For eg. In our school, to second and third grade kids we teach them about art. Art helps in connecting with the world in more sustainable ways of understanding it in a much better way. By using role play, drama and debates related to a problem, students can express their opinions and perspectives on issues related to the community. Based on different cultural themes. Students can enjoy stories and poems and hence understand the cultural importance, etc. Or a sixth grade student by studying science, can understand the consequences of global warming and ways of restoring ecological balance etc.
Thus, with the help of this report, we can see that environmental sustainability is very essential for the growth of any society. It can only be achieved if we make our kids Eco-literate or by imparting education related to the environment and its sustainability. For this our school has formed a committee to achieve environmental sustainability and to empower each and every student of our school to make correct decisions and actions.
Below are a few recommendations to be taken in consideration for environmental sustainability:
- Parents and school should work in collaboration with each other so as to make the school’s vision become reality by the year 2030 or so (University of Cambridge, 2017).
- Encouraging the kids for recycling of products, so that by the year 2030, wastage of resources is minimized.
- By conducting more classes on socio-cultural factors, so that by the year 2025, the number of cases of racism is decreased.
- By encouraging kids to conduct research on how certain things happen and in what fashion, so that in next 10 years when they enter the real world, they are able to make strong decisions related to environmental issues which are complex.
- A platform should be provided to students in the communities and school where they can share their ideas and thought (Toth, 2017).
- More field based education should be introduced to the young students.
- More active learning methods should be introduced in the school system
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