WSUEL Penrith wins Toddle green award recognising sustainability practices
Western Sydney University Early Learning (WSUEL) Penrith has been announced as the winner of the 2021 Toddle Green Awards. The awards are designed to celebrate the ‘green achievements’ of child care centres around Australia, with over 90 entries being received in 2021.
Toddle partnered with Millenium Kids, a not-for-profit organisation that helps schools and community groups collaborate on projects that help the environment to present the awards, with Millenium Kids CEO Cat Aniere sitting on the judging panel.
Located on the university campus at Kingswood in Sydney’s west, Western Sydney University Early Learning Penrith stood out to the judges for their incredible commitment to sustainability.
The centre has a bush tucker garden, pet chickens, water saving taps, energy efficient lighting, native trees, a bushfire regeneration program and they’ve also adopted a koala through the Port Macquarie hospital.
Recently the centre was involved in an extensive child-led research project about climate change and bushfire recovery. Many of the centre’s families were adversely affected by the 2019/2020 bushfires in the Blue Mountains and surrounds. Through an arts-based approach the centre is working to develop hope and resilience in the children.
Children have engaged in regeneration, planting native trees to provide shelter and food for native animals and learning about how they can influence the process of climate change and advocacy. This includes some activities relating to Indigenous land management practices that support regeneration. Much of this research will be added to an upcoming book to be published later this year.
WSUEL Penrith plan to spend their $2,000 Bunnings voucher on some established shade trees to reduce hot surfaces in the playground; adding more raised garden beds and fruit trees; and, the purchase of another water tank to capture more rainwater for irrigation.
WSUEL Penrith Centre Director Tessa McGavock said it is fabulous to know these programs continue to grow in our service and that the children over a number of years are developing skills and understanding about caring for our planet.
Ms McGavock, who is completing a Master of Education (Leadership) degree at Western Sydney University won a Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Award for Excellence in University Sustainability. As part of that award, she was able to travel to the European Early Childhood Research Conference in Estonia where she was motivated to start her doctoral study.
To learn more about WSUEL Penrith please visit its website, here.