Hello! I’m Margaret Sear and president of QECSN and I’ve taught in community kindergartens since 1969 and am now regarded as a leading practitioner in the area of Education for Sustainability. This was reflected in all areas of my teaching at C&K Redlands Community Kindergarten where I worked to enrich the outdoor environment of the Kindergarten as a stimulating, challenging and natural play-space for children; that encouraged free choice and constructive risk taking through the inclusion and use of natural play materials. I was recognized by Redland City Council for my efforts to promote sustainable practices in industry and was awarded a World Environment Day Workplace Champion Award at the 2010 World Environment Day celebrations.
I worked to achieve sustainable environments and practices throughout the Centre and in 2013 the Kindergarten and I won the C&K Eco-Efficiency Award for Sustainability. I have featured in the ECA PLP EYLF videos and several ECA TAPS articles.
I am President of and a long time member of QECSN Inc. (Queensland Early Childhood Sustainability Network and am presently consulting with and mentoring Early Childhood services in sustainable practices including curriculum practices and environments. I am now enjoying semi retirement, and as a member of ROGI Redlands Organic Growers, I am building a productive garden that provides much of my food needs while supporting permaculture and organic principles.
Hello, I am Anne Taylor (B.Ed (Early Childhood Education) Dip BKTC) in natural environments. A childhood spent exploring undeveloped seaside and coastal heathlands, science (zoology) at school, and living in and travelling to a diversity of natural areas throughout Australia with my ecologist husband, and three children were all significant points in the journey.
As an Kindergarten teacher in a variety of places across Australia -Armidale (NSW), Darwin (NT), Brisbane and Ipswich, I fostered the children’s appreciation of natural environments both within the centres and on excursions to places of interest. Later I took up teaching positions at The Bremer TAFE and Southbank Institute of TAFE, where I was able to embed education for sustainability (efs) into the Children’s Services Diploma and Certificate 111 curricula.
Recognizing that there was a gap in knowledge of efs in the early childhood community, I joined the QECSN committee to assist in their work to support and mentor educators. Working together we have made significant progress in introducing and connecting many Queensland educators to efs. It ‘takes a village to raise a child’ (An old Chinese proverb)
Melindi Robertson (B.Ed EC) has taught in community kindergartens as an Early Childhood Teacher for more than 20 years. She has also worked as an Early Childhood Officer in DETE and is currently completing a contract with C&K as a Quality & Regulation Advisor. Melindi has also worked for Remote Area Families Service as a Field Coordinator in Longreach operating from a 4WD mobile kindergarten. Her interests are sustainability, both at home and in early childhood services), native wildlife and rehabilitation, and her new house, garden and chooks in a quieter greener part of the Sunshine Coast. She also completed her M.Ed majoring in Children's Literature and has regularly reviewed books for ECTA.
Dr Lyndal O’Gorman enjoyed a 13 year career as an early childhood teacher working in primary schools in Brisbane and Far North Queensland prior to commencing her academic career at QUT.
Lyndal completed her PhD in 2007, and her current research interests include:
- Early childhood education for sustainability
- Early childhood arts education
- Queensland’s Preparatory Year
- Play pedagogies
Lyndal is a Senior Lecturer and researcher in the Arts and Education for Sustainability in the School of Early Childhood and she co-ordinates the Master of Teaching (Early Childhood) program at QUT. Lyndal is currently involved in cross-disciplinary teaching and research projects involving sustainability. She is a committee member of the Queensland Early Childhood Sustainability Network.
Hello. My name is Carolyn Barnett. I have been working in the area of early childhood education as a group leader, child care director and kindergarten director for approximately 25 years. The prospect of becoming a grandmother twice over in 2013 prompted me to re-think my priorities and resulted in a decision to resign from my position at a Kindergarten at Kenmore. Sustainability has long been an interest of mine. This interest, I guess, had its roots in my childhood growing up on a farm where the importance of caring for our environment and more particularly, our food sources, was clearly evident. After reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal, Vegetable, Mineral” a couple of years ago, I became particularly interested in the importance of understanding what we are eating and knowing where our food comes from. I have become an obsessive frequenter of farmers’ markets and in my work it has been very rewarding to help children to grow things in the kindy vegetable patch and to cook and eat the fruits of their labour.
Another wonderful aspect of my country childhood was the freedom we had to roam the countryside, play on the creek bank, climb trees and use materials we gathered like stones, leaves and sticks. Sadly, city children in particular have become increasingly deprived of some of these experiences and in recent years I have also become very interested in striving to re-introduce nature into our outdoor play spaces. My last big project before leaving my teaching position was to supervise the establishment of a large extension to the playground, which has provided the children with far greater scope for exploring and challenging themselves and for working with natural elements like water, rocks and mud. Even though I only had the opportunity to work in this new space for a few weeks, it was extremely rewarding to see the children enjoying the area, testing their abilities and building confidence. After resigning from my permanent position, I have been doing some relief teaching in a number of kindergartens in Brisbane and regional areas. It has been very exciting to see the great work our early childhood centres are doing in guiding children’s learning about sustainability.
I am hoping that by becoming a member of QECSN, I might be able to continue my learning journey in the area of sustainability and to also make a contribution in spreading the word and inspiring others. Of course, one of my biggest priorities for the future will be to do all I can to help to ensure my grandchildren get to grow up in a world with clean air and water, good, healthy food to eat and natural spaces to play in. I currently have my husband working on plans to turn our fish pond into a digging patch and to establish a vegetable garden!
I have been a Family Day Care Educator for 28 years. During this time I have endeavoured to provide elements of nature and sustainability to my environment. This has led me to become a member of QECSN a few years ago. This is my first year as a member of the QECSN committee and I am in awe of the knowledge and experience of my fellow committee members in the area of sustainability and early childhood education. I look forward to learning from these passionate educators and will encourage others to join this inspiring organisation.
Hi my name is Sharyn Flynn (B.Teaching-Early Childhood),
I have always had a connection with our natural environment, mother earth. Although my father is of the Wiradjuri nation (Wellington/Lithgow NSW), it has only been the last few years that I have become more interested in learning about the meaning of country, my indigenous heritage and language.
As a child I travelled extensively with my family in a caravan, the outdoors was my playground, I spent many hours exploring the wonders of nature and even today the outdoors is where I feel the happiest, and want to do what I can to ensure that our future generations can experience the same kind of natural childhood.
I have been a committee member of QECSN for a couple of years and have really enjoyed my time being on the committee. I have learnt so much from the other committee members, their years of experience both in early childhood and sustainability is so inspiring, I would highly recommend likeminded people to join our membership and also become a committee member.
It is now more than ever that we need to learn, share and care about all that is around us beyond technology, social media and the internet. We need to ensure our children do not become nature deficient, and to assist them discovering all that is beautiful outdoors, and to do this we need to protect what we have yiradhu (today) so that it will survive into the future so that our gudha (children) and their gudha can have the chance to touch, feel, smell and have a connection to Gunhi dhaagun (mother earth) and the wonders of nature every yiradhu (day) as Gunhi dhaagun is talking to us, are you listening?