Read about special education projects undertaken with children at the Early Learning Centre (ELC).
Green Fund Case Study
Children's Voices for Greening Melbourne
In line with the global trends in education towards cultivating critical and creative thinking, collaborative skills and dispositions, leadership and entrepreneurship that speaks strongly to living and thriving in our era, ELC teachers embraced a teaching and learning program around education for sustainable development with the over-arching provocation of ‘Greening Melbourne’. The children were challenged to problem solve and communicate their ideas of what a green city might look like. The resultant exhibition sheds light on their innovative ideas around green roofs and vertical gardens on city buildings; even the arts centre spire growing green tendrils. They also had innovative ideas for re-usable shopping bags and individualized ‘Eco-Hero’ T shirts that would spread the message of ‘Greening Melbourne’.
Cooee: Voices in the Forest: Children taking action to save Toolangi Forest
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not."
- Dr Seuss
Throughout the year ELC children and teachers were engaged in a long term project that investigated the eco system of Toolangi State Forest which is located 1 hour from Melbourne. Learning focused on old-growth forest habitats, the status of the critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum, ferns, creeks and waterways. The learning also incorporated Indigenous Australian perspectives, drawing on the expertise and examples of sustainable living as practiced by the first Australians.
Cooee! Let's Be Heard
The Cooee poster collection represents a powerful initiative developed by the ELC teachers and children. It is based on the premise that visual messaging can be highly influential in spreading important messages throughout the world. ELC children have been 'stepping out, finding out and speaking out' and as active citizens they have been involved in spreading three significant environmental messages: water doesn't last forever; switch off for the future; and nurture nature.
Above the Shadows and Below the Light
In response to the United Nations International Year of Light-based Technologies two technologically oriented projects engaged all ELC children in learning that explored light and darkness. The project entitled ‘Above the Shadow, Below the Light’ produced a two-part film that integrated the performing arts with Information Communication Technology. The project enabled the children to engage in interdisciplinary learning across a number of creative mediums including film, music and dance. With the support of the iPad and the Garage Band app the children recorded soundscapes using a wide range of natural materials. They also performed free dance, movement tableaus and still shapes, which were also captured using the iPad. The resultant captivating film was integrated into the end of year Gala Performance and will be developed further in 2016 into a teaching and learning resource.
Action Yarra: Stepping Out, Finding Out Speaking Out
Action Yarra was a project that was designed to expand children’s knowledge about the Yarra River and its environs. The children learnt about the physical aspects of the river as a home for fish and birds. During the project they identified pollution as a major concern impacting on the health of the river. The idea of ‘taking action’ in order to promote care and understanding about waterways and habitats became central to the inquiry.
Ninety calico ‘action flags’ with thought provoking poetical and environmental messages were created by the children and displayed along the bank of the Yarra River with the express purpose of engaging members with a quest to communicate concern and respect for this important environmental feature. The ‘Action Yarra’ project promoted children as active citizens who have a right to express their opinions on matters that impact their lives.
A Recipe for Community
Over the past five years the ELC has collaborated with Interact Australia to conduct a number of projects that have brought together ELC children and their teachers and adults with disabilities to enjoy relationship building through arts-based activities.