Tokenistic ‘random acts of sustainability kindness’ are quickly exposed. Evidence must be authentic in order to manage, track and prove sustainability during assessment and rating visits.
So what are the 6 key pieces of evidence you should provide for assessment and rating in quality area 3: physical environment?
- Visual transparency – create action plans, educational posters, transparent rosters and informational wall displays.
- Document child knowledge – facilitate learning experiences, which encourage child participation so there is guaranteed learning in child interest areas, then documenting learning in learning books, as work samples, anecdotal notes and remember to include parent voices.
- Staff development and training programs – how can we ask educators to connect children with nature when they themselves are not connected? Building staff capacity is vital. Management needs to support staff in this area and funding removes some financial barriers to this occurring.
- Infrastructure – make sure your environment reflects current practice. There is no point writing up a Waste Recycling Policy if there aren’t any bins to recycle with.
- Communications – advocacy via newsletters, information bulletins and holding events will demonstrate sustainability but more importantly will validate a crucial component of embedding sustainability, community development. Sustainability does not occur without community participation. Think about the relevance of this and quality area 6: partnerships with families and communities.
- Sustainability resources – go beyond the big book, the nature college and natural play materials… boring, boring, boring! These are ok as a starting point but sustainability benchmarks are continuously moving upwards. Look for tools that are going to build capacity in staff and children. Its not just about environmental sustainability anymore. Bigger picture sustainability includes economic and social sustainability.
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The Backyard Collective resources are second to none and cater to all levels of knowledge and understandings. Our resources grow with you! Let us help you locate sources of funding to ensure that you have access to the best tools and resources available on the market. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here’s a few to get you started!