Free PD available to support educators to lead tomorrow’s global citizens

Free PD available to support educators to lead tomorrow’s global citizens

by Freya Lucas

September 09, 2021

Preschoolers at Forestview Community Kindergarten, located in Queensland’s Bunderberg region, are receiving an education in conservation, community and Indigenous culture through an inspiring and innovative project which is also preparing them to tackle global issues. 

 

Co-director and teacher Louise Stallard said completing a micro-credential from CQUniversity and the Global Learning Centre helped her see the bush tucker garden project’s global potential.

 

Leading Education for Global Confidence 

 

The credential, Leading Education for Global Competence, was developed with funding from the Queensland Government, and promotes a deeper understanding of how diversity and inclusion can build social cohesion. Educators are equipped with strategies, case studies and resources to foster knowledge, skills and values for a better world.

 

Ms Stallard completed the four-module professional development earlier this year, and said the content was a perfect fit with the bush tucker garden project.

 

“The study reaffirmed we were on the right track with the bush tucker garden, also showed us what other educators across early, primary, high school settings were doing, and has opened up ideas to potential future pathways for this project too,” she said.

 

Think global, act local

 

For preschoolers heading into the world of school, having a connection with nature and community will prepare them to be global citizens, Ms Stallard continued. 

 

“There are so many benefits from this space. We come together every day to announce our  acknowledgement to Country in the garden, and take the time to talk about being the caretakers of our plants, animals, each other, the kindergarten, our town and our community.”

 

Ms Stallard has been developing the bush tucker garden over the past six years, in partnership with local Indigenous organisation Gidarjil Development Corporation.

 

Gidarjil advised Forestview on plants to include in the garden, and trainee Indigenous rangers visit the garden to help children care for the plants and understand their uses. The project is also set to expand into the community, with plans to plant and care for bush tucker plants in a nearby environmental swamp.

 

Professional development ignites thinking 

 

Ms Stallard developed the project after doing another professional development course with the Global Learning Centre 12 years ago.

 

“It was that PD that first ignited my thinking, that there’s definitely more we can do here” she said, outlining other projects including a Japanese culture program, and a range of conservation initiatives.

 

The project has had reach far beyond the garden itself, with Ms Stallard saying that having a global perspective has helped Forestview students to handle the pandemic and it’s challenges with an additional layer of insight. 

 

“COVID-19 has made children more aware of what’s happening in the world, and how it affects them,” she said.

 

“You don’t want to scare them with information about the world, but you do want them to be aware of working together to do the right thing, and helping teach our families too.”

 

“That’s something I’ve learnt from the micro-credential: you’re never going to be able to expose preschoolers to every issue and idea, but any issue can encourage those empathetic and resilience skills or dispositions, so they can cope more broadly.”

 

Leading Education for Global Competence is available for free until the end of October 2021, and may be accessed here (users will need to create a free login to access).

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