Pre-service early childhood teachers and designers partnering for change at The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary: An interdisciplinary education and design for sustainability project

O'Gorman, Lyndal, Davis, Julie, Gibson, Megan, Osborne, Lindy, & Wilson, Peta (2014) Pre-service early childhood teachers and designers partnering for change at The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary: An interdisciplinary education and design for sustainability project. In Australian Association for Environmental Education 18th Biennial Conference, 2-5 November 2014, Hobart, TAS. (Unpublished)


This presentation discusses and critiques a current case study of a project in which Early Childhood preservice teachers are working in partnership with Design students to develop principles and concepts for the design and construction of an early childhood centre. This centre, to be built on the grounds of the iconic Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane , focuses on Education for Sustainability (EfS), sustainable design and sustainable business. Interdisciplinary initiatives between QUT staff and students from two Faculties (Education and Creative Industries) have been situated in the real –world context of this project. This practical, authentic project has seen stakeholders take an interdisciplinary approach to sustainability, opening up new ways of thinking about early childhood centre design, particularly with respect to operation and function. Interdisciplinarity and a commitment to genuine partnerships have created intellectual spaces to re-think the potential of the disciplines to be interwoven so that future professionals from different fields might come together to learn from each other and to address the sustainability imperative. The case study documents and explores the possibilities that the Lone Pine project offers for academics and students from Early Childhood and Design to collaboratively inform the Sanctuary’s vision for the Centre. The research examines how students benefit from practical, real world, community-integrated learning; how academic staff across two disciplines are able to work collaboratively within a real-world context; and how external stakeholders experience and benefit from the partnership with university staff and students. Data were collected via a series of focus group and individual interviews designed to explore how the various stakeholders (staff, students, business partners) experienced their involvement in the interdisciplinary project. Inductive and deductive thematic analysis of these data suggest many benefits for participants as well as a number of challenges. Findings suggest that the project has provided students with ‘real world’ partnerships that reposition early childhood students’ identities from ‘novice’ to ‘professional’, where their knowledge, expertise and perspectives are simultaneously validated and challenged in their work with designers. These partnerships are enabling preservice teachers to practice a new model of early childhood leadership in sustainability, one that is vital for leading for change in an increasingly complex world. This presentation celebrates, critiques and problematises this project, exploring wider implications for other contexts in which university staff and students may seek to work across traditional boundaries, thus building partnerships for change.

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ID Code: 91872
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: No
Keywords: education for sustainability, early childhood education, design education, higher education, interdisciplinary
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Humanities and Social Sciences Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. Economics Business and Management) (130205)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Children & Youth Research Centre
Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 15 Jan 2016 02:40
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2016 02:40

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