In 2018 Dr Dawn Butterworth AO and Ms Tina Elsegood received an honourable mention in the ESD awards presented by World OMEP for a project titled ‘Teaching Rights and Responsibilities in Preschool’ as a basis for a Sustainable Future.
This education for sustainable development project (SDG) related specifically to SDG Goal 4.7. It promoted sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship, and the appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development. Using the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) as a base, activities were integrated throughout the planned curriculum for the last Term 4 of 2017 in a pre-primary centre. Links were also made to prior learnings, especially in relation to the indigenous Noongar people’s contribution to a sustainable local environment and of Western Australia’s multicultural citizens’ contributions to sustainable development.
The intent was for the children to learn that they have rights, and to provoke them to think about their responsibilities in relation to these rights and to sustainability, whilst emphasis was placed on developing understanding of the democratic process. Throughout the project, the 7 R principles of respect, reflect, rethink, reuse, reduce, recycle and redistribute were applied to daily practices (Engberg, 2017).
Assessment of outcomes comprised an informal verbal pre-test and post-test of these young children’s understanding of key concepts whilst monitoring took place by recording and noting children’s voices during discussions, planned activities and play.