Gippsland Lakes Community Health’s Children’s Centre in Lakes Entrance is producing our next generation of ecological warriors via weekly Coastal Kinder outings – a unique part of their four-year-old Kindergarten program.
“Coastal Kinder promotes ecological sustainability and provides opportunities for children to discover and explore their environment,” said Child Care Coordinator, Jodie Jarvis. “It aims to connect children to their world by getting involved in practical experiences, and in this case, in their unique and special back yard.”
Each term the children explore several different coastal elements including our local waterways, beaches and tides; land animals and marine life; and weather patterns and events. Recently the children visited Red Bluff, where they discovered crabs and sandworms and learnt the environmental impact that waste and litter has on our waterways, marine animals and their environments.
The experienced team of educators at GLCH’s children centre believe that teaching environmental awareness to children at a young age is important for future growth. “Studies show that children who are exposed to a diverse range of natural settings are more creative, have increased physical activity, are more respectful to one another and are more aware of health and good nutrition,” explained Qualified Early Childhood Teacher, Angela Lina. “It also helps shape relationship skills and critical thinking skills like analysing, questioning, investigating, interpreting data, forming theories, solving problems and developing conclusions.”
Every week the children enjoy taking the bus to beach or the bush. “We get to play with our friends and learn how to look after animals,” said one very enthusiastic participant.
“We’re thrilled by how the children and their parents have embraced our Coastal Kinder program,” Ms Jarvis said. Many parents tell us that they look forward to their child’s stories and reliving their experiences, and are amazed by the things they’ve learnt.”
Other Coastal Kinder outings the young eco warriors have undertaken this year include Koala spotting and tree planting on Raymond Island and exploring the Buchan Caves and Ferry Dell, and the educators are looking forward to taking the children on a tour of the Fisherman’s Co-op and a boat safari on the lake to spot marine life.
Find out more about their Children’s Centre’s four-year-old kindergarten program by contacting GLCH or call in and meet their team of early childhood educators at the Children’s Centre open afternoon on 20 June.