Nurturing love of nature a first step for engaged global citizens

13 September 2021

Passionate educator Carrolyn Ireland is determined to help preschoolers prepare for the global challenges ahead. She's seen firsthand that early childhood is a "fertile" time for creating lifelong habits.

The Sunshine Coast-based Early Childhood Pedagogy Advisor for the Childcare and Kindergarten Association (C&K) has been in the education sector for almost 40 years' and recently completed an innovative micro-credential from CQUniversity and the Global Learning Centre' Leading Education for Global Competence.

The micro-credential' developed with funding from the Queensland Government' promotes a deeper understanding of how diversity and inclusion can build social cohesion. Educators are equipped with strategies' case studies and classroom-ready resources to foster knowledge' skills and values for a better world.

Mrs Ireland said the professional development "reinvigorated" her determination for tackling global issues in classrooms.

"I've always had a passion for being across those big challenges' and wanting to take action' so it's helped me demonstrate how it can fit in the curriculum'" she said.

"Getting preschoolers involved in the world's biggest challenges might not occur to most people' but it does to me!"

"It's such a fertile time for creating lifelong habits' and for shaping how we understand the world."

Mrs Ireland currently works in C&K's Metro and North Coast team with teaching teams from Bundaberg to Brisbane' and said the micro-credential has helped her integrate Global Competence in the existing nature program.

"We were already running the nature training' and it was a perfect fit to add the Global Competence thinking and ideas'" she explained.

"At a practical level' that's asking the children to think about how we impact nature as we play' and how we impact each other."

"Also' you have to be in nature to develop a love of it' and a love of nature feeds into relevant sustainability ideas."

Mrs Ireland said the Leading Education for Global Competence micro-credential was highly valuable' and she'd encourage all teachers to take it on.

"It's about making a difference in the lives of those children' and how that impacts other people'" she said.

"It's their generation that is going to be looking after me in the old age home' so I definitely want them to learn about empathy for my sake! But also for people around the world who don't have sanitation or food' so young people can start to see their role in the solution as they continue through the education system. To be Powerful Learners' Thinkers and Theorisers and Active Citizens."

Leading Education for Global Competence is available for free until the end of October 2021' at (create a free login to access).

Study time is approximately eight hours to complete the four modules.

The course assists teachers and leaders from the early years to upper secondary meet professional development requirements across the AISTL Professional Standards and Early Childhood National Quality Standards.

Since 2016' CQUniversity has been recognised as Australia's only Changemaker University' accredited by global network for social impact in education' Ashoka U.

The Global Learning Centre has supported thousands of educators in universities' schools and early years settings to develop young people as active and responsible global citizens.