As Wangari Maathai (n.d.) said:
“We owe it to ourselves and to the next generation to conserve the environment so that we can bequeath our children a sustainable world that benefits all”. However, it is imperative that we “aim to achieve sustainable change, not just a cute little makeover” (Oliver, n.d.)
Sustainability is simply the capacity to ‘endure, and to be maintained’. It is often used as a term for all the elements, concepts, principles and activity of being sustainable and Kapooka Early Childhood Centre, situated on a picturesque half an acre, leads itself naturally to a love and care of nature and the environment.
Kapooka Early Childhood Centre (KECC) has a very strong commitment to the environment and education for sustainability. The aim of education- for-sustainability is to promote a sense of responsibility, respect, appreciation, empowerment, active involvement, enquiry, investigation and social change to make a positive difference, not just now but also for future generations.
Early childhood is a great time to involve children in education for sustainability and develop lifelong practices to ensure the respect and protection of our planet. We believe a sense of wonder, belonging to and love of the natural environment, living things and animals is critical for young children to develop lifelong respectful, positive and proactive attitudes towards protecting our environment, caring for all living creatures and creating a sustainable environment. At KECC the children are actively involved in sustainable practises every day. Education for sustainability has strengthened our relationships with the children, families and community. Within our curriculum, education for sustainability focuses on our shared Aboriginal history of connections with the land and reconciliation; biodiversity - nature connections, gardens and animals; environmental health - eliminating chemicals; slow food – growing our own food, respecting the natural rhythms of seasons and food traditions; resources – responsible use of water and energy, waste minimization, fair trade and the sharing of resources; and living in peace with each other and nature.
KECC approaches sustainability and sustainable practices from the three spheres as delineated by the University of Michigan Sustainability Assessment (2002)
We need to be aware of our ‘ecological footprint’ which is a measure of human demand on the Earth's ecosystems. It is a standardized measure of demand for natural capital that may be contrasted with the planet's ecological capacity to regenerate. We don’t see sustainability as a stand-alone activity but is a process we are embedding in everything we do.
Many aspects of sustainability are already embedded in our day to day activities, for example worm farm, vegetable and herb garden, water tank, water saving taps, reduction in electricity being used, dual flush toilets, chooks, recycling and the reduce, reuse and recycle campaign. KECC is proud to participate in initiatives that are not only local but national and worldwide, such as Wagga City Councils ‘Greenie Grant’and 'Kapooka Happy Hens' Projects, Clean Up Australia, Recycling Week and Earth Hour.
We want to be a Preschool who refuses to accept inaction at the expense of future generations and as such, we will lead the world towards a sustainable future. We are a Preschool that sees sustainability not as a static agenda, but rather an evolving of issues that impact our Service, families, educators and children.