The IEU Environmental Conference part 1 (ES1, S1, S2, S3) was held at the Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre on 16 August. Over 80 early childhood and primary school teachers were in attendance, learning about the value and importance of outdoor education and nature play. The secondary teachers’ conference will be held in October.
We asked a few attendees about their experience:
I came from the ACT to this environment conference firstly, for the name! Field of Mars, I just had to find out about that. But also, the environment is everybody’s responsibility. It’s such a big issue and if we aren’t passionate about it how can we expect our children to be passionate about it? And also, just to find some creative ways to get outside and enhance my teaching practice. That’s why I’m here.
I teach kindergarten children and I was encouraged by my head of junior school to come along. I have a passion for outdoors, growing up on acreage I was always outdoors. I just love being out in the environment and I think we need to take care of it. We need to teach our young ones from an early age to appreciate and look after the environment. I’d really like to know and learn how to make their learning valuable outside and how to teach all parts of the curriculum outside.
I’m looking forward to implementing a unit next term around film and film techniques. So I’m going to the English Outdoors workshop, because it’s perfect for what we’re going to be implementing. We’re going to be taking it straight back to the kids and take it from an outdoor perspective. We’re very excited to be doing that.
The geography session was really hands on and interesting, it engaged all the participants by having an actual thing to do. Learning by doing really helps us not just remember but really learn the concepts, so when we go back to the classrooms it’s just implementing it. Other previous indoor conferences were still good, interesting and full of concepts and ideas, but this is just that bit better.
I was encouraged by my principal to come on this course. I’m really interested in the outdoors; I’ve always enjoyed it as a kid. I also have been encouraged by the teacher community, it’s brought a lot of interest in the value of an outdoor education and the importance of getting children out of the classroom and enjoying their environment around them. I’m looking forward to learning how to better prepare lessons, how to set up great experiences for the kids where they can make good connections to curriculum and form a deeper understanding of different key learning areas.
I’m an early childhood teacher. I recognise that we learn so much through our career that sometimes we just need something refreshing and a little different to continue our own growth, to enhance how we’re teaching the children and to support the children in their ability to learn. I’m enjoying being able to talk to other people about their experiences, what they’re doing and where they’re heading. Also learning how the environment, which is so important to our children’s learning, can help us as teachers to extend them. As a teacher I’d like to make sure they’re heading on the right path and going towards what they need to learn, enjoying it while they’re doing it too.