Mapping the local community
Place/Country-responsive play, discovery play, habitat, community, biodiversity, ecosystems
Woombye Childcare and Kindergarten and Kurilpa Community Childcare Centre
Mapping the local community was undertaken by both Kurilpa Community Childcare Centre and Woombye Childcare and Kindergarten. Hannah and the children from Kurilpa created a journey map of their walk from the centre to the community garden bush site where they engage in nature play. This process of reflecting on the journey and then mapping it visually offered insights into the children’s perspectives of the journey. The children first created this journey map earlier in the year, and then revisited it for this project, asking which elements of the journey stand out to the children once more. The second opportunity to map the journey resulted in the children adding significantly more detail. Educator Hannah was astounded by how specific and accurate the children’s descriptions were. Hannah’s intention behind the journey mapping was to position the journey as adventurous and fun too, not just the destination – “We wanted it to be a special thing for them… that they’d remember the journey just as much as they’d remember the play in the natural environment”.
At Woombye Childcare and Kindergarten, the educators developed a ‘Walking Woombye’ journey, to build a sense of community and familiarise the children with local places and community members. During the process (before COVID), the children had the opportunity to go into shops and introduce themselves to local business owners, the intention being to build meaningful connections with community. Like Kurilpa, the children at Woombye had the opportunity to map features of the local place that stood out for them. The children’s commentary on what they noticed while ‘Walking Woombye’ was particularly illuminating and interesting. Educator Julya shared that asking them to record their thinking demonstrates the significant differences between what the children see/ notice, and what educators see/ notice.