Activity Ideas to Celebrate World Environment Day in your Early Learning and OSHC Services

4 Jun 2024
Activity Ideas to Celebrate World Environment Day in your Early Learning and OSHC Services Image

World Environment Day, celebrated every year on 5 June, is a global event dedicated to fostering environmental awareness and action.

For educators in Early Learning Centres (ELC) and Outside School Hours Care (OSHC), this day offers a unique opportunity to inspire children to connect with and care for the natural world.

Engaging young minds in environmental stewardship not only aligns with the principles, practices and outcomes of the Early Years Learning Framework (Belonging, Being and Becoming) and the Framework for School Age Care (My Time Our Place) in Australia but also fosters a sense of responsibility and respect for our planet that will last a lifetime.

The Importance of Environmental Education in ELC and OSHC

  • Developing a Sense of Belonging and Connection

The EYLF emphasises the importance of children developing a strong sense of identity and belonging.

By integrating environmental education into daily activities, children can build connections with their environment, understanding their place within the natural world.

This aligns with the principle of “Secure, respectful, and reciprocal relationships” as children learn to care for the environment through meaningful interactions.

  • Holistic Approaches to Learning

Environmental education encourages a holistic approach to learning, one of the key practices in the EYLF.

By exploring nature, children engage in sensory experiences, physical activity and cognitive challenges.

Activities like planting a garden, exploring a local park, or conducting simple science experiments with natural materials can stimulate curiosity and promote active, hands-on learning.

  • “Children Are Connected With and Contribute to Their World” (EYLF, Outcome 2)

One of the key outcomes of both frameworks, is that children become connected with and contribute to their world.

Celebrating World Environment Day can help achieve this outcome by encouraging children to participate in activities that highlight the importance of sustainability and conservation.

Simple actions like recycling, composting and conserving water can be powerful lessons in environmental responsibility.

Practical Ideas for ELC’s

Activity Details Linking to the EYLF
Planting Projects Create a small garden or potted plant project where children can plant seeds and watch them grow. This hands-on activity not only teaches them about the life cycle of plants but also instils a sense of responsibility as they care for their garden. This activity can be linked to the EYLF’s practice of “Learning through play” as children explore and experiment with their plants.
Story Time with Environmental Themes Incorporate books and stories with environmental themes into your daily routine. Reading stories about nature, animals and conservation can spark children’s interest and empathy towards the environment. This practice supports the EYLF principle of “Ongoing learning and reflective practice.”
Art and Craft Using Recycled Materials Engage children in art and craft projects using recycled materials. This can include creating sculptures from plastic bottles, making paper mâché models or designing posters about the environment. These activities promote creativity while reinforcing the importance of recycling and reusing materials.
Nature Walks and Scavenger Hunts Organise a nature walk or scavenger hunt in a nearby park or natural area. Encourage children to observe and collect natural items like leaves, rocks or flowers. Use this opportunity to discuss the different plants and animals they encounter and the importance of protecting their habitats.

Practical Ideas for OSHC Services

The framework for School Aged Care also emphasises the importance of developing environmental responsibility.

It encourages educators to create programs that promote children’s engagement with and understanding of the natural world. Here are a few ideas to integrate into OSHC programs:

Activity Details Linking to MTOP
Environmental Clubs Start an environmental club where children can participate in projects like creating a recycling program, organising clean-up events, or starting a school garden. These activities align with the focus on collaborative partnerships with families and communities.
Science and Nature Projects Incorporate science projects that explore environmental topics such as the water cycle, renewable energy, or the impact of pollution. Encouraging inquiry-based learning helps children develop critical thinking skills and a deeper understanding of environmental issues.
Outdoor Learning Environments Enhance your outdoor spaces to encourage exploration and interaction with nature. Creating areas where children can observe wildlife, plant gardens or simply enjoy natural play can foster a lifelong appreciation for the environment.

Provide meaningful and engaging learning experiences this World Environment Day

World Environment Day is a perfect occasion for ECEC and OSHC educators to instil environmental values in young children.

By linking activities to the frameworks’ principles, practices and outcomes, educators can provide meaningful and engaging learning experiences that foster a sense of responsibility and connection to the natural world.

Together, we can nurture the next generation of environmental stewards who will continue to protect and cherish our planet.