Environmental education is learning how to care for the Earth, other people and ourselves. (Department Edu. Queensland, 1993).
Among the many activities, field work has been described as an integral part of the environment education programs. Direct experience in the social environment is important if students are to take a leading role and to gain an aesthetic perspective environment (Department Edu. Queensland, 1993)
Today, the day of my field trip to Amaroo finally arrived.....
In the morning, my coursemate, Robyn picked me up from the bus stand in front of the residential area where I am currently staying now. I had to drag myself out of the bed....the winter was freezing cold, and conducive enough in tempting me to sleep in!
Well, fortunately she picked me up, else she'd have ended up alone at the Environmental Centre by herself! *lol* There about 6 people who had signed to go, but only the 2 of us turned up!
Basically Amaroo is just a place where the children can go for field trips. As can be attested, field work can be a ready extension of classroom work (Department Edu. Queensland, 1993)
There are four centres for different programs, ranging from pre-school to up to high school. These range from Cooby Dam, Leslie Dam, and Ravensbourne National Park. Each facility has different programs arranged and designed for the needs of the different age levels, depending on what the schools want.
The bathrooms were built on a separate building, with different ones set up for boys, girls and adults (females and males). Facilities for the physically challenged were built together in the main building.
The schedule of the centre is fully packed through out the year, and pre-planned for the entire year, with a few free days, in case of change of weather, such as rainy days. Children from special schools also come for field trips. As it is, the centre is allowed to charge a levy for children who come for the field trip.
The groups that came today were in Pre-school and Grade 2 level. The children came wearing hats and name tags. They were not wearing uniforms though. They lined up in 2s, and all of them had a partner that they queued with. They sat on the benches around the campfire place, as the guide explained to them what they were going to do for the day.
The Preschoolers were to go for a bush walk around the facility, whilst the 2nd Graders were off to make dampers. (Dampers is a sort of bread). They were going to cook the dampers in these iron pots over the camp fire instead of putting it into the oven, like those good old days campfire! *Exciting!*
Then the guides started a fire on the campfire site, and asked the children questions on what they thought could be happening with the fire. We followed the pre-schoolers around for the field for a bush walk for about an hour...*Whew, who'd have thought a bush walk could be TIRING!*
I heard and learnt about names of different bush animals whose name I had never heard of. It was my first time I heard of ant-lions. I even saw cactuses, termite nests......
At 10, we left during morning tea and headed back to the university for a tute later at noon.
My concern was that according to the guide, even children at Toowoomba do not really spend much time outdoors these days. What with new innovations and technological gadgets available these days, it's like the children had not had much time out in the open....
Now, what does that say about children these days?
Department of Education QLD (1993), P-12 Environmental Education Curriculum Guide, Publishing Services, Australia.