As children from Gowrie Docklands Kinder explore the local community and venture into the CBD, road safety becomes a key feature of their learning.
Strong connections with community are at the heart of daily life at Gowrie Victoria, and each of its six early learning services has a dynamic Out & About program.
The program sees children from Gowrie Docklands Kinder (GDK) and Gowrie at The Harbour head out into the community on a daily basis. They walk to the supermarket for craft and cooking supplies, hold story-time and yarning circles at Birrarung, on the NewQuay Promenade, and travel on public transport to the CBD.
GDK educational leader Liz Ong said a large part of the program involved building children’s abilities to stay safe within the community.
“A lot of the children would be used to having a parent with them out and about,” Liz said.
“So, we draw on their existing knowledge and support them to action it within different contexts.”
As part of Road Safety Week and an extended road safety inquiry project, the kinder is calling on pedestrians and motorists to be allies and support the presence of kinder children in the community.
The project, which is supported by the Traffic Accident Commission and Early Learning Association Australia, aims to increase awareness in the Docklands community that the waterfront (NewQuay Promenade) is a safe learning space for the GDK children.
“Every Wednesday, we visit the promenade at Docklands with a small group to explore water country and sky country, and to share stories and ideas,” Liz said.
“But we’re noticing, more and more, that it’s difficult for the children to safely roam about the promenade."
Liz said an increasing amount of bike and scooter traffic had started to dominate the promenade, despite signs that it was a pedestrian priority area.
“There are so many bikes and scooters whizzing past with little regard for others, it’s becoming unsafe for the children to be there,” she said.
The Out & About excursions are highly anticipated among the children at the early learning services and are viewed as a vital part of their learning and development.
“It’s so important for children to be active citizens in the community,” Liz said. “It builds their sense of connection to the world and an understanding of their place in it. This empowers them to see that their ideas matter, their voice matters, that they are important people within the community too.”
If you are interested in supporting this inquiry project, please contact Liz at [email protected].
For more information about enrolments at Gowrie Docklands Kinder or Gowrie at The Harbour, head to the website. •