Step onto the grounds at the Faith Lutheran College Junior School and you will soon discover the outdoors are a revered and special part of the College learning culture for students and staff. Over time the College has developed a SOLE program (Sustainable Outdoor Learning Environments), creating special learning experiences for students to embrace whilst surrounded by the natural environment.
In recent weeks the SOLE program has relaunched under the guidance of passionate educator, Annabel Biagi. Annabel brings 35 years of classroom experience and a lifetime of passion for the environment to her new role as SOLE Coordinator. Working under the guidance of the Stephanie Alexander school program, Annabel spends time with each class from children in the Early Learning Centre to Year 6, sharing a range of experiences from the garden to the kitchen. You may find students working in small groups composting, working with worm farms, tending to the School’s chickens, watering, planting or weeding in the orchard or one of the extensive produce gardens.
The program allows students to follow topics that align with the Australian Curriculum, whilst gaining a greater understanding and appreciation for the world around them. Reflecting on the importance of the SOLE program, Annabel said; “sustainability education can be fun, engaging and empowering for students. It allows students to take responsibility for their actions and to contribute their vision for a sustainable future. It enables them to develop knowledge, skills, values and motivations for action, allowing them to maintain their own wellbeing – and that of their community and the planet – in an increasingly interconnected world.”
Students take great pride in picking fresh produce from the gardens, with items such as seasonal tomatoes and cucumbers added to the menu of Forage Supply Co. or fresh herbs and lettuce complementing the salad menu at the local 1918 Bar and Grill. Selling the produce helps to fund initiatives with several new additions planned for the outdoor learning spaces in 2020 including a native wellness garden and beehive.