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Playing and Learning with and for Life: Researching Innovative Environmental Education in Primary Schools

Davis, Julie M. (1999) Playing and Learning with and for Life: Researching Innovative Environmental Education in Primary Schools. In Southern Crossings: Pointers for Change, January 1998, Sydney. (Unpublished)

Abstract

This paper examines action research projects in two Queensland primary schools, where parents, teachers, children and the wider community have been working together, through their local actions, to create healthy and sustainable futures. In different ways, both schools have been striving to create play and learning spaces where children can have ‘intractable involvement with nature’ and can build supportive social relations. These have been complemented by developing explicit curriculum programs that provide integrated outdoor learning opportunities; enhancing skills in democratic decision-making; and taking actions for sustainability.

In one project, the ‘health promoting schools’ concept was applied, initially at least, in order to redevelop the schools grounds into ‘learnscapes’. In so doing, the project built partnerships between parents, children and teachers. Later, a democratic health decision-making model was utilised as the basis for student-centred, action-oriented curriculum projects exploring health, social and environmental issues. Examples of these issues, identified by the children themselves, include: Dirty Creeks, Crime in the Suburb, Litter in the School Grounds, Car Park Safety, What’s In Your Lunchbox?

In the second project, the focus was the development of a ‘learnscaping’ curriculum to support the school’s newly landscaped school grounds. This involved extensive interactions over a five year period, culminating in teachers collaboratively developing integrated learning activities based on the outdoor environment and which would involve the school community in learning how to become ‘stewards of the Earth’.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 4205
Item Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: environmental education, education for sustainability, health promoting schools, learnscaping, action research, school change
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 1999 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 24 May 2006
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 22:32

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