Embedding sustainability in a real-world context: Developing a world class early learning centre

Davis, Julie M., O'Gorman, Lyndal May, Gibson, Megan L., Osborne, Lindy, Franz, Jill M., & Wilson, Peta (2014) Embedding sustainability in a real-world context: Developing a world class early learning centre. In Seasons of Change: Early Childhood Australia National Conference, 4-7 September 2014, Melbourne, Vic.

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This symposium describes what is possible when early childhood professionals work with designers to develop a vision for an exemplary early childhood centre with a focus on Education for Sustainability (EfS). The symposium provides insights into cross-disciplinary initiatives between QUT Early childhood and Design staff and students, who have worked together with the iconic Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, to explore imperatives around EfS, including leadership and professionalism. This practical, real world project has seen all stakeholders engage in a focus on sustainability which has opened new ways of thinking about early childhood centre design. Cross-disciplinarity has created space to re-think the potential of the disciplines to interweave, and in so doing opened different ways for thinking about early childhood centres – their operation and their function.

For the first time in Queensland, this project creates strategic alliances between EfS, childcare, business and sustainable design. EfS is essential for addressing local and global environmental issues and early childhood EfS research has been gaining international momentum, with governments nominating this area as having significant capacity to empower communities and promote change. While models for collaboration exist in the early childhood programs in Reggio Emilia, we offer sustainability as a unique and contemporary focus with immense potential to generate international and national interest.

To date Early Childhood degree students enrolled in a leadership and management unit/subject have worked collaboratively with Design students to explore the sustainable design of the proposed Lone Pine early childhood centre. Providing students with a ‘real world’ project sees them re-positioned from ‘novice’ to ‘professional’, where their knowledge, expertise and perspectives are simultaneously validated and challenged. These learning experiences are enabling students to practice a new model of early childhood leadership, one that is vital for leading in an increasingly complex world. The symposium will be comprised of three discrete, though interconnected presentations, that work together to tell the story of this project. Three key facets of the project will be explored during the 90 minute session, as the perspectives of key stakeholders are shared. The first presentation (A/Prof Julie Davis, Dr Lyndal O’Gorman& Dr Megan Gibson) will outline the role of QUT School of Early Childhood staff and students, with attention to the ways in which the project was embedded in students’ work in the final year of their degree program of study. The second presentation (Ms Lindy Osborne) will provide insights into the Design students’ collaborative work in the project. Finally, the key role of the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and their commitment for EfS (Ms Peta Wilson & Dr Sue Elliott) will map out the philosophy that underpins the project. Together, the authors will conclude key project outcomes that have been achieved through this real-world, cross-disciplinary work.

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ID Code: 91295
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Learning Environments, Early Learning Centre, Sustainability, Architecture, Design
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > ARCHITECTURE (120100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > ARCHITECTURE (120100) > Architectural Design (120101)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori) (130102)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 17 Dec 2015 00:59
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2017 14:44

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