Bundaberg kindy bush tucker garden plants global ideas

08 September 2021

An inspiring Bundaberg project to connect preschoolers with conservation' community and Indigenous culture is also preparing them to tackle global issues.

Forestview Community Kindergarten has opened a bush tucker garden' and co-director and teacher Louise Stallard said completing an innovative micro-credential from CQUniversity and the Global Learning Centre helped her see the project's global potential.

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 classroom-ready 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 that has been implemented at the kindergarten setting.

"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.

"We know that young people will to be more successful as globally competent students if they have connection with nature and community."

"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.

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 Japanese culture program' and a range of conservation initiatives."

The passionate educator said having a global perspective has helped Forestview students through the pandemic' too.

"COVID 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."

"It's certainly helped me as an educational leader' the content has been a great resource to share with my team and inspire them."

Leading Education for Global Competence is available for free until the end of October 2021' at https://bedifferent.cqu.edu.au/enrol/index.php?id=2734 (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.