Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary teachers had an opportunity to learn practical skills to take back to their children at a hui held at EIT’s Ōtātara Outdoor Learning Centre (ŌOLC).
The first of three EIT Learning in Nature (LIN) Teacher Professional Development hui was held at the award-winning ŌOLC on EIT’s Hawke’s Bay Campus on Tuesday, November 30. The subject was integrating nature as a context for learning across the curriculum.
This professional development series is fully funded by Pan Pac Environmental Trust. The first hui proved popular and two further hui are scheduled for March 2 and 10, 2022.
The hui was facilitated by EIT’s Learning in Nature Education Facilitators Robyn McCool and Megan McBride with Ngāti Pārau Hapū chairman Chad Tareha and EIT Horticulture Tutor Aaron Williams.
Robyn says it is an opportunity to develop skills, knowledge, and competency in this space as nature literate teachers are vital in reengaging the next generation.
“A lot of children don’t get that downtime to play outside, like perhaps our generation did, so they’re not all used to it.
“Often teachers need to deliberately teach children to observe and if you can do that in a fun way then they will be interested.”
She says people who are comfortable outside and comfortable in nature are a lot more likely to advocate and act for the environment than people who don’t have any interest or engagement in it.
During the hui, Talia Hōhua (Tuhoe), Te Kaiirirangi Harmer-Te Ropiha (Ngāti Kahungunu) and Mia van Dulm, who have recently completed their Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) degree at EIT, shared ideas they learned from their participation in the Blake Inspire for Teachers programme.
Another activity, ‘Up Close and Personal with Plants’, was led by Aaron Williams, who specialises in early childhood development through outdoor play. Educators were able to identify plants and make a kawakawa balm.
Professor Nat Waran, EIT’s Executive Dean, Faculty of Education, Humanities and Health Science, and Professor (One Welfare), says: “We are extremely grateful to PanPac Environmental Trust for providing our region’s teachers with the opportunity to develop their skill and confidence in delivering across the curriculum and at all levels from early childhood to high School, using an outdoor context.”
“It’s also exciting to see how our EIT student/candidate teachers are able to contribute to the learning in nature Kaupapa.”
The Learning in Nature (LIN) project recently won the Benefitting Society Category along with Australia’s Deakin University in the prestigious Green Gown Awards, delivered by ACTS (Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability).
The LIN Professional Learning and Development hui model has been approved to operate as an EIT Approved Short Course, meaning teachers enrolled in this short course receive a Certificate of Attendance to verify their participation in the Professional Learning and Development.
To request notification of upcoming Teacher PLD opportunities, email Robyn: email@example.com or Megan: firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to join the LIN mailing list.