You wouldn’t expect to find a blueberry bush growing in the middle of the CBD but this is exactly what was discovered in the yard at Margaret Street Early Learning Centre.
“We are not sure how the blueberry bush came to be here at Margaret Street, as it’s the first year anyone has seen it fruit. However, this could be because of how we are embedding sustainable practices in our day with the children,” says Centre Manager Lisa Concannon.
The blueberry bush has been a source of interest for the children since it sprouted its first fruit not so long ago. Regularly children visit the blueberry bush either on their own, in a small group or with an educator to see what they can spot on the bush.
Lisa says, “One day there may be a berry that hasn’t turned blue yet – so this is an interesting line of investigation and questioning for the children. Last week, to their surprise, a caterpillar was found on the bush – so they must be tasty blueberries! As we learn more about the blueberry bush we hope that our crop will be more bountiful.”
Most recently the toddlers have been using linguistic skills to pronounce the word blueberry. They also picked one and the children had the opportunity to use their senses to continue to explore the fruit by smelling, looking and touching. The children practiced handling the blueberry with “gentle hands” so as not to squish it as they investigated it.
Sustainability practices at the centre
The children have been able to revisit sustainable practices everyday as they use the outdoors on a daily basis. Lisa says, “We have a number of sustainable practices at our centre. Our rain water tank collects water along with conserving water from mealtimes to use in our garden, a worm farm that the children feed their scraps into – in turn we collect the worm wee that is available to families to take home to use as a fertiliser for their garden or we use back in our own.”
“Revisiting and having access to our natural environment embeds these practices into our day across the centre and promotes children to build and hypothesise on their different theories around the natural world around them.”
The centre has also propagated their own plants, which was an exciting experience for the older children. Through this, children have learnt to identify the parts that can be used, how to put them in water so they sprout and then how to replant them so they can be used throughout the centre in different spaces.
Margaret Street Early Learning Centre’s outdoor space
This Sydney childcare centre has a fantastic outdoor space – a surprising element of an inner city early learning centre – that is used as another classroom and environment for learning. Complete with a wooden fort that offers a space to unwind with a book or dramatic play, the area also has a big shade sail over it as well as an open air natural space which means it’s ideal for any weather. The space also boasts a special outdoor art area where educators spend the time exploring the different art and craft materials, how to respect the resources and make informed creative decisions with children.
Learn more about Margaret Street Early Learning Centre here.