The toy library model provides a good setup for introducing and practicing education for sustainable development in early years. The three main pillars of ESD (Economic, Environmental and Social pillars), are easily explored and achieved through fun activities.
Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. TLA-KE’s practices are anchored on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It guides on integration of SDGs into the curriculum. It also applies the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) approaches to empower children to assume responsibility for creating a sustainable future for themselves.
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) stresses the importance of humans living in harmony with the earth. Through playful activities and hands-on experiences, children engage with their environment and make the most of it both socially and economically. The toy library model supports education curriculum, through the pillars of ESD by helping children to develop behaviours, skills and knowledge they need now and in the future. TLA-KE gives ideas and guidance on how to work around these pillars to enrich learning.
Environmental Pillar of ESD
The programme creates awareness of the richness of our natural resources. Children participate in tree planting as a way of taking care of their environment and securing their future. They also engage in material development from waste where they make their own play and learning materials. When children engage in the production of their own materials they make sense of their environment, learn to recycle or reuse and appreciate their environment, setting a firm foundation of environmental and natural resources conservation.The process fosters creative and critical thinking, control, confidence, collaboration, communication, and coordination skills.
To ensure sustainable play, children are trained in material development. Here, they develop a number of play and learning materials from waste and locally available resources. In this manner, children make sense of their environment, learn to recycle or reuse and appreciate their environment, setting a firm foundation of environmental and natural resources conservation. Their end products foster creative and critical thinking, control, confidence, collaboration, communication, and coordination skills.
Economic Pillar of ESD
Through projects and hands-on experiences children acquire skills and attitude that prepare them as future job creators as opposed to job seekers. Activities in this pillar foster creativity and innovation, as they acquire entrepreneurial skills from their products.
Entrepreneurship project is a topic in the new competence based curriculum’s environmental activities area. The toy library activities shed light on this topic with practical ideas on how this topic can be handled and how to conduct activities around it to shift from employment to job creation. This also enriches learning.
Social Pillar of ESD
Our widespread prosperity as a nation directly depends on cohesion and equitability to achieve social development. TLA-KE acknowledges that early childhood development is multi-faceted. Play being universal, is the only approach through which developmental milestones and domains can be achieved. Cultural values and acquaintances can be developed through playful activities. Experiences at the toy library are therefore collaborative and interactive, considering those with disabilities and underprivileged as well.
Outdoor activities keep children more active. Gardening in particular is fun and it provides interesting opportunities for children, while teaching them valuable lessons. As children garden, they come across different species of plants and creatures, and they get to learn about the shared space between them and other living things; what these plants need in order to grow which helps them to learn about the different seasons and weather. They learn their responsibility towards successful co-existence. Gardening has immense benefits to children. It:-
- helps them to learn the world around
- promotes their sensory development
- helps to build their physical strength and well being
- teaches children to be responsible and patient
- improves their observation skills
- encourages healthy eating habits
- develops social skills among children
- improves their conceptual learning in class
When focus is put on food security, children should be part of it. Their efforts and contributions through experiential learning cannot be overlooked. The toy library provides space and tips for children to practice sustainable farming and they replicate this in their small spaces at home.
Other Activities & Skills developed at the Toy Library
Basic sewing and knitting are some life-long skills that a child develops. These fun activities also enhance concentration, eye-hand coordination and develops fine motor.
Art and Craft Activities
Through these activities they develop their fine motor skills and learn how to use materials like scissors and glue. They also learn about colours, shapes, sizes and textures. Here, the process is as important as the finished product.
Nature has immense benefits for children. Children’s interaction with nature enables more sensory stimulation. They breathe in fresh air with more oxygen. This interaction also gives them a good feeling, lowering rates of depression. In nature they come across various species of plants and animals and learn about the ecosystem.