Creativity inspired by our sustainable journey
At Bear Park, we are proud to be working alongside the next generation as kaitaki (guardians) of our nurturing, inspiring, and beautiful natural surroundings. Part of taking on this responsibility has meant that we have become more aware of the waste that we—as humans—create and then discard. Therefore, we challenged ourselves over the last few years to source and incorporate more recycled materials into our programmes and classrooms to support our tamariki, kaiako, and wider whānau group. Our aim is to really reflect on what we use, how we use items, and whether “rubbish” items could be used again in another capacity.
The learning outcomes from this initiative have been threefold:
- We have reduced our waste to align with our sustainable journey and ideology.
- We have promoted a sustainable mindset amongst our children.
- We have observed the development of creativity and problem-solving skills as our children use open-ended loose parts within their investigations and experiences while at Bear Park.
Loose parts serve as an open-ended learning experience that encourages decision-making, problem-solving, and critical thinking for children. They also promote child-centred learning experiences, within which they have the freedom to re-invent, create, and deconstruct.
We provide our tamariki with an opportunity to work with loose parts daily, allowing our children’s creativity to flourish, facilitating the revisiting of ideas, and empowering them to be directors of their own learning as they bring their individual unique interpretations to materials.
One space in which we have seen this come to life is our recently established outdoor construction space. This area is resourced with sawn-off stumps, logs, shells, pinecones, stones, large springs, and reels.
We are more than excited to begin sharing ideas and experiences with the teachers, children and whanau of our Bear Park community, and further enriching our beautiful spaces and opportunities to explore and discover together.
“The wider the range of possibilities we offer children, the more intense will be their motivations and the richer their experiences.”
— Loris Malaguzzi
This journey towards sustainability and understanding the impact we have on Pāpātūanuku (Mother Earth) has—and will continue to be—ongoing as we endeavour to support our children to have a positive, nurturing relationship with the natural world and to recognise the role we all have in ensuring we safeguard the amazing natural resources we have on our doorsteps.
We are excited by the inspiring ideas our tamariki have already shared and will support them to reflect, challenge, and strengthen their existing working theories about their world through the use of loose, open-ended recycled materials.