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At the Early Learning Centre (ELC), children are often asking questions and drawing connections between their knowledge and the world around them. Both the Kinder and PrePrep programs recognise inquiry, and the value this has in children acquiring knowledge and in developing a passion for learning. This term within the ELC, we are embarking on a collaborative inquiry project that gives the girls an opportunity to explore and investigate the world around them.

We began by introducing the girls to the inquiry statement – we care about the world – and using this as a provocation to spark interest and engagement amongst the children. The Kinder girls unpacked what the words care and earth mean, before jumping into the brainstorm of what they already know.

“Caring means to pull things up. You pull them up and put it in the bin.” — Penelope
“There’s different colours for different rubbish bins and rubbishes. We need to investigate!” — Lara
“The earth is our world. It’s ours and we live here” — Evie

During this tuning in phase of the Project, the PrePrep girls recognised their role in looking after the earth and connected this to earlier discussions about Indigenous Australians. They also discussed what would happen if we didn’t look after the earth.

“We have to look after this place because the Aboriginal people looked after the land, so we need to look after it too.” — Matilda
“So we can keep the animals safe. We have to look after the world. We have to make sure we have water and that we plant food. If the world dies we will die and then we can’t look after the world.” — Maddie
“We catch the water in buckets so it doesn’t go down the drain.” — Charlotte

Both classes have begun to recognise rubbish as a leading contributor to environmental problems, especially to our waterways, and have demonstrated strong passion in the need for this to be managed. The Kinder girls have used buckets to collect and sort rubbish in our yard, while the PrePreps have begun to notice the ways that we can begin to manage our water use within the centre using recycled water for our plants.

Already during these early phases the girls are making connections between what they know, affirming their own values and what is important to them. We look forward to delving further into our inquiry project.

Bernadette Gioia, Director of the Early Learning Centre