Environment in focus at recent NZTC Block Courses
Early childhood education students at New Zealand Tertiary College (NZTC) are being supported with skills and knowledge to increase children’s understanding of the environment.
Students attending Block Courses in October and November developed creative activities to incorporate sustainability-based topics into children’s learning, focusing on themes such as pollution, recycling, native trees and animals.
Block Courses are a prominent feature of the college’s Blended Learning mode, which combines the flexibility of online learning with face-to-face learning and practical experience.
“Block Courses give students the opportunity to put their learning into practice. They are able to take the skills and knowledge they’ve learned, reflect upon them and incorporate them into practical and collaborative activities,” said NZTC Lecturer Julie Plows.
The Block Courses were held at NZTC’s Auckland Campus, where students created colourful and interactive board games to demonstrate how intentional place-based learning can strengthen children’s environmental understanding.
Students of the college’s undergraduate teaching programs reflected positively on the session, which they said enabled them to translate their learning into practice while also building relationships with fellow students.
“The Block Course has given us a strong sense of belonging because we’ve been able to connect with people who are in the same boat with similar concerns and aspirations,” said Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood Education) student Mei Leng Mary Anne Low.
The students were excited about the course’s environmental focus, as they acknowledged the responsibility early childhood teachers have to inspire sustainable behaviour in younger generations.
“Part of our job as teachers is to be role models, so it’s important that we are conscious of our environmental responsibilities. We need to support children to develop strong values so they grow up with an awareness and respect for the environment,” said Mei Leng.