Our Year 4 Environment Year

All primary schools do themes throughout their different year levels. Few offer true immersion experiences with great depth.

Our “Enviro” program invites Year 4 students for the entire year to connect with the natural world through immersion in an incredible garden environment. Throughout the process they develop empathy and respect for the natural diversity of life on earth, having direct access to the Barwon River, a beautiful and productive garden, a kitchen and specialized learning areas where students grow and cook food and learn important life lessons about sustainability, good food and good health.

The driving question, “How can we create a good tomorrow?” guides learning throughout the year and helps develop critical thinking about sustainability and caring for the planet.

Across each term new questions are considered: How can we grow a productive garden? How are living things around us connected? How has our landscape changed over time? How do we use the earth’s resources?

Listen to some students speak about their experience.

Student Choice

One of the main concerns I hear from teaching staff in general, is that they do not have the time. I understand their concerns – I really do. Teachers are being asked to do more and more and not being given any extra time to do so.

In 2009, a Year 7 Home Economics teacher that I have previously done some work with, had for the past several years, got her students to produce a written report on Kitchen Safety. You know the type, “Write a 2000 word essay on Kitchen Safety.”After having several discussions about students use of and abilities with ICT, I asked her to consider giving students some choice. I said,“What about giving students the opportunity to present their work using some form of multimedia – what about a video?” 

The teacher replied, “But I don’t know how to make a video.” I replied, “Great! With ubiquitous access to the internet, a teacher no longer has to know how to do everything.The small shifts teachers can make in their practice involve giving students choice, relinquishing control and becoming a learner again. Relinquish control and you may be surprised at what your students are capable of!”

The teacher in question decided to give the students the opportunity to submit some form of multimedia presentation instead. This work was to be done at home and with no teacher guidance.

This is a sample of the type of work submitted. The teacher in question was absolutely blown away. She had no idea that her students were capable of something like this.


Now you decide. Which is better? This short movie or a “googled” written report on Kitchen Safety?