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Mission and values

Operating principles

The following operating principles have been developed as a guide for all programs and associated activities conducted at the North Keppel Island Centre.

  • The Centre encourages respect for the environment and concern for the health and quality of the environment.

  • Health and safety must be a major consideration in all operations at the Centre.

  • The Centre places an emphasis on direct experience in, with and for the environment through active and responsible participation processes.

  • Activities at the Centre should involve people in the processes of discovery, exploration and adventure as a means of creating motivation and joy of learning.

  • The Centre encourages an appreciation of, and participation in indigenous people's cultural knowledge and experience of the environment and their contribution to a unique understanding of the environment.

  • Activities at the Centre should engage participants in practical learning situations which promote the development of active and informed citizenship, including skills and problem solving, decision making and effective social interaction.

  • The Centre encourages the development of skills through activity-based learning appropriate to levels of competence and experience.

  • The Centre encourages a preparedness to actively care for the environment.

  • The Centre encourages community involvement and participation in program development and implementation.

Charter for Outdoor and Environmental Education Centres - a statement of roles, values, functions and commitments

Establishment 

The network of 25 Department of Education and Training (DET) Outdoor and Environmental Education Centres (O&EECs) were established in 1960’s with the first centre being at Tallebudgera Beach Outdoor Education School. The most recent O&EEC to open was Toohey Forest EEC in 2000.

According to the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 section 13 “The Minister may establish institutions at which the State provides educational instruction to persons enrolled at State schools as an adjunct to the educational programs provided to the persons at the State schools, including, for example—

(a) environmental education centres; and

(b) outdoor education centres.

Context 

O&EECs are located across the state, and deliver learning experiences in locations including islands, beaches, bushland, mangroves, rainforest, the reef, wetlands, historical and cultural environments and city streets on an overnight and day visit basis. Centres explore an expansive vision of sustainability and place with students using all four dimensions of productive pedagogy, including an additional ‘fifth’ dimension that moves beyond productive pedagogy, and is particularly suited to developing ‘learning for sustainability’.

Belief

O&EECs believe that a “sustainable future” relies on developing understanding and action to address the inter-relationship between personal, social, economic and environmental issues that impact on our lives, our climate, and our biodiversity. Individuals have an impact on the environment. Australia faces an unprecedented challenge from climate change, water issues and species loss. There is a risk of losing our natural heritage, our rivers, landscapes and biodiversity. Action is required now to safeguard and shape our future prosperity.

Education plays a key role in empowering people to work for a sustainable future.

This includes developing personal and community health and wellbeing; understanding how each of us through our lives impacts on our natural environment; and developing the knowledge, skills and tools to make a difference and ensure a “sustainable world” for ourselves and future generations.

Values 

O&EECs support the implementation of DETE’s strategic plan values of ‘environmental sustainability’ through their programs and services.

O&EECs also support the values as outlined in the Statement on Sustainability for All Queensland School – enough for all for ever, including:

  • respect, care and compassion for ourselves, others and our environment
  • responsibility for our actions
  • integrity of all life on earth
  • understanding and inclusion of all peoples and perspectives
  • promotion of healthy lifestyles
  • courtesy, consideration and cooperating with others

Principles

O&EECs base their operations on the principles of:

  • protecting biological diversity and ecological processes
  • taking a precautionary and anticipatory approach to decisions and actions
  • striving for social and inter-generational equity
  • encouraging and providing for community participation
  • encouraging wise use of resources
  • promoting participation as an active and informed citizen through life long learning for a sustainable world
  • embracing creative and innovative approaches to environmental and social problems

International context

O&EECs incorporate the objectives of the United Nations Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) and the values and principles of the Earth Charter into their programs and services.

National alignment

O&EECs promote and support schools to implement the principles of the National Environmental Education Statement for Australian Schools – Educating for a Sustainable Future, Sustainability Curriculum Framework, Melbourne Declaration of Educational.

Goals for Young Australians and the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI) and Health Promoting Schools program.

State support

O&EECs support the ambitions and targets as set out in Towards Q2 Tomorrow’s Queensland, especially in the Green, Healthy and Smart goals. O&EECs also support the regional implementation of the Queensland Environmentally Sustainable Schools Initiative (QESSI), Health Promoting Schools, Values Education and Smart Moves, Earth Smart Science Schools and Solar and Energy Efficiency in Schools programs.

Supporting DET’s strategic plan

While committed to the corporate values, goals and priorities of DET, O&EECS have expanded on specific strategic goals in the DET priorities of ‘laying strong educational foundations’ and ‘improving agility and sustainability’. O&EECS strongly support the corporate outcomes for:

  • ‘students to respect diversity and develop critical thinking and creativity skills that equip them to be global citizens in a sustainable world’ as well as
  • ‘environmental sustainability across DET’s services and business systems’.

Strategic direction

As a sector within DET, O&EECs have identified specific goals that enhance the strategic direction of DETE. They are:

Pedagogy and place to achieve deep learning for sustainability through connecting people with real places.

Personal and social wellbeing through supporting individuals to become healthy, active and happy citizens for a sustainable world

Connected communities of like minded individuals and communities that work together to create a sustainable future

Productive organisation where O&EECs work as part of an innovative and growing organisation where people and systems deliver professional and business solutions to achieve the goals of the outdoor and environmental education sector.

Roles of O&EECs

Implement policies on outdoor and environmental education and respond to priorities in accordance with the DETE Strategic Plan

Deliver outdoor and environmental education programs to schools based on the essential learnings and Education Queensland’s Curriculum P-12

Framework to optimise learning outcomes for students

Provide specific physical and specialist human resources for outdoor and environmental education for sustainability in response to the needs of students, teachers and school communities.

Provide professional development support for teachers and schools to development their outdoor and environmental education component of the school development and operational plan.

Participate with universities in ongoing research partnerships

Liaise with community groups and Government Departments to maximise outdoor and environmental education for sustainability opportunities for students, teachers and school communities. 

Functions of O&EECs

O&EECs provide programs and services that are based on three inter-connected models of operation that achieve optimum outcomes related to improved knowledge, values and behaviour related to learning for sustainability and personal and social wellbeing when they support & draw on each other:

  • Destination: Teachers, students and communities come to Centres to experience high quality specialist programs.
  • Expert: O&EECs visit schools to extend student learning & deepen professional development by building on destination experiences.
  • Partnership: O&EECs work together with schools and communities to maximize destination & expert experiences in order to achieve mutual goals over a longer time period.

O&EECs are diverse in their operations and delivery of programs and apply the three models in a variety of ways depending of location, program speciality and levels of resourcing to meet the specific needs of schools and community groups in the area of learning for sustainability and personal and social wellbeing.

Approach by O&EECs

O&EECs approach to sustainability is through:

  • governance that supports sustainability policies, procedures and programs
  • implementing curriculum that is developed and delivered on the principles of environmental education for sustainability
  • providing social and emotional support for individuals and organisations
  • developing partnerships, alliances and networks with government, communities, universities, TAFEs and business
  • implementation and evaluation of strategies and actions to reduce the ecological footprint of schools, centres and DET
  • facilities that demonstrate ‘best practice’ in ecological sustainable development principles

Commitment

O&EECs will contribute to a sustainable society by working together in ways that respect Indigenous culture, customs and country and develop deep personal, social and environmental values.

They will promote living and learning sustainably and the making of environmentally responsible decisions that will leave a positive legacy forfuture generations.

They will support social and emotional wellbeing for their staff and clients.