An Interview with Star Learners Child Care: Sustainability in the Classroom
Developing young learners to be creative and environmentally-conscious can sometimes be challenging as these two concepts appear to be in tension.
In this series of #PSMExplores, we speak with educators that bring these two concepts together impeccably and gather some tips which you can use to start your own sustainability journey.
We sat down with Ms Christy Shih, Centre Principal of Star Learners @ Ang Mo Kio (SL) to find out how the preschool uses recyclable materials for Art and Craft lessons and also turns them into teaching resources.
CREATE using Recyclables.
QN: Tell us some of the upcycling projects (be it for work or leisure; projects or learning materials in school) that you have done. Where do you get your inspirations from?
SL: Guided by Star Learners’ literature-based approach, we get inspirations from the core books, where children are given the opportunity to inquire and extend their learning. Teachers will follow children’s lead to come up with various activities, including Art and Craft. Such activities happen very frequently at our centres and in the spirit of sustainability, we will always use recycled materials whenever possible.
Getting into Upcycling
QN: How did you or your school get into upcycling?
SL: Upcycling is an ongoing initiative at all our Star Learners centres. The idea is intentionally integrated in our lesson plans; we do not specifically upcycle just for school projects.
Our teachers are big on sustainability, and often encourage parents to chip in to our efforts, and that means we always have a huge resource of materials on standby, for our children to express their creativity.
QN: How do you go about gathering some of your recyclable materials? Are there any difficulties faced when trying to secure recyclable materials?
SL: Our materials are gathered mainly from our teachers or parents. As early childhood educators who require huge amounts of resources for our lessons, it has become our second nature to keep a lookout for materials to recycle.
We have not faced much difficulty so far when trying to source for such materials. Our parents are also supportive in our recycling efforts and have been great help. I remember receiving an outpour of carton boxes within a short period of time when we called for it. Within Star Learners, we have built a culture of sharing and will pass on extra materials to other centres if need be.
QN: What are some materials that you are constantly on the lookout for? Is there a GO-TO recyclable material that you see yourself using over and over again? (a very open-ended recyclable material that encourage creative use)
SL: Cardboard boxes because they are the most versatile. We use them to create games in our learning corners and craftworks too. You will find cardboard vehicles and even dinosaurs and dragons! Some of our go-to materials are egg cartons, buttons, wrappers, plastic containers/bottles, patterned used clothes, yarns and ribbons.
Views on Environmental Sustainability
QN: Do you think the throw-away society we live in is becoming more aware of saving the environment?
SL: Yes, as I think the society in general has become more aware. Social media has helped spread the word, and there are many like-minded people who share their upcycling ideas online.
QN: Do you have any tips for people or schools who are starting their sustainability journey?
SL: It doesn’t have to be a big effort in order to make a difference. We can always start small, by consciously using recycled materials for craft or as lesson materials. All these small gestures can add up to a lot!
How to get started?
Join our Kindred Community where we share with you ideas and resources to help you kickstart your journey. If you would like to secure some basic materials to start your loose parts collection, you may contact us to enquire. All preschools are entitled to basic Kindred Studio SG membership which allows you to get BASIC materials.
And if you are looking for more unique recyclable materials like buttons, ribbons and cloth samplers, we have them in our Recyclables Hub as well for our premium members!
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If you would like to share with us your preschool’s sustainability journey or other enquiries, please email us at email@example.com.
More about Star Learners Child Care
If you would like to find out more about Star Learners Child Care, head over to Star Learners Child Care or follow them on their social media platforms.