Endless Possibilities at The Guardian Pedagogical Exchange

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Located in the vibrant hub of Richmond in Melbourne, The Guardian Pedagogical Exchange encapsulates Guardian’s early learning philosophy and vision. Previously a mail exchange, The Exchange stands as a resource centre for sharing early learning ideas and materials for Guardian educators, families and children.

We take a few minutes to find out more about the space from Becky, a team member and inspirational support at The Exchange. She speaks about the importance of focussing on up-cycling, encouraging creativity at Guardian and working alongside educators to facilitate imagination with open ended materials.

First things first, tell us a little about yourself.

Before working at The Exchange, I was a studio technician in the art department of high schools, assisting teachers and studios develop their creative ideas and artworks.

I’m passionate about the environment and encouraging sustainable practices, so it’s a natural progression for me to be a part of an initiative that encourages educators to up-cycle materials in a creative way.

Who else is in the team at The Exchange?

It’s Glen, Victoria and I. We all assist in sourcing recycled materials and working together to deliver workshops to educators and children at Guardian centres.

Do many centres visit The Exchange? If so, what are they most interested to see?

We hold workshops for about six different Guardian Early Learning centres each week. There is a big focus on teaching educators how to use natural and open-ended materials at their centres.

Some educators know exactly what they’re looking for and others don’t. Either way, it’s a great chance to encourage inspiration and motivation for early learning educators!

grid image at the Exchange

Do you have a stand out memory of working at The Exchange?

One of the greatest memories would have to be putting together construction workshops earlier this year. During these workshops we spoke about creating engaging learning environments and teaching educators how to use recycled materials to encourage imagination and exploration.

What are some of the more interesting projects you’ve been working on?

We’ve recently created a rotating bike stand, musical cubby house, musical instruments and a forest of recycled resources!

grid showing recycled structures at the exchange

At Guardian, we place a strong focus on inspiring children about the wonders of the environment and understanding the importance of sustainable practices. How does The Exchange encourage sustainability?

The Exchange champions sustainability through encouraging the use of recycled materials and redefining the traditional use of up-cycled parts. More often than not when educators may first hear the term ‘recycled,’ they think milk bottles, newspapers, and egg cartons.

The Exchange works with businesses to supply a HUGE multitude of up-cycled materials from wood, fabric, cardboard, plastics, old furniture, boards, piping, elastic, and so much more.

The Exchange aims to increase environmental awareness not only to Guardian educators and children, but aims to also inspire to parents, friends, local businesses, Guardian as a whole and the wider community to be more sustainable in their approach to childcare.

What’s in store for The Exchange over the next couple of months?

We’re currently working on holding horticulture workshops at every centre in Victoria. These workshops focus on gardening with the children and plant care both indoors and outdoors. We are also focussing on getting some new suppliers for The Exchange, looking at larger loose parts and outdoor loose parts.

Learn more about The Guardian Pedagogical Exchange here.

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