As implied by the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF), practicing sustainability empowers children to construct knowledge, explore values and develop an appreciation for the environment and its relation to their world. Embedding valuable and holistic sustainability experiences within early childhood programmes, is an important factor of nurturing children who are the next generation, this can be shown and see through hands-on experiences where it will ultimately lay the foundations for an environmentally sustainable adulthood. Ultimately, through engaging in activities that promote sustainable thinking children will develop the creativity and critical thinking skills necessary to make informed decisions for change, improving the quality of their lives, and those of future generations.
In process of developing the ‘Egg Planter’ herb garden activity a discovery made in the investigations was the benefits of ‘sustainable food’ education in the early childhood environment. Subsequently reflecting upon our personal experiences and evaluating several sources of credible research in addition to relevant curriculum documents, we found that food is arguably one of the biggest components of waste production in our society and thus a significant element of sustainability education. Moreover, food is an integral part of our daily lives and a familiar source to all children. Using their already acquired knowledge of and experience with the ‘food’ allows educators to build upon their prior understandings and construct a sustainable learning experience that is directly linked and relevant to their experiences in daily life. Furthermore, combing the concept of sustainable food with a physical activity such as gardening; children engage first-hand with fundamental principle of sustaining life on earth. In addition, engaging with natural resources such as soil, seeds and water promotes their respect for the environment while planting seeds specifically encourages children to appreciate how their own actions can contribute to bettering their world. Ultimately It is the combination of these ideas which assisted us to develop the concept for our lesson ‘Egg Planter Herb Gardens’.