A next-gen ‘Aussie Wildlife Champions’ Education Program launched today will engage more than 10,000 children aged 3-5 years over the next three years on critical lessons in conservation.
Australia is facing an extinction crisis, so Affinity Education Group (Affinity) and Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) have combined their conservation and education expertise to co-develop a bespoke ‘Aussie Wildlife Champions’ education program.
As part of Affinity Education Group’s Lifelong Learning Curriculum, the ‘Aussie Wildlife Champions’ program will be made available to more than 10,000 children in the 3-5 year old age group. A ‘Family Fun At Home’ Mini-Program will help parents and caregivers engage their children with fact-filled and fun information and activities on Australia’s unique wildlife.
Dr Lesley Jones, Head of Education and Pedagogy for Affinity, led the development of this unique partnership, the first of its kind between AWC and an early education provider.
“In developing our national Lifelong Learning Curriculum, we have been so pleased to have been able to partner with such a well-respected organisation such as Australian Wildlife Conservancy,” Dr Jones said.
“Together we have produced a very special program for young children. Raising children’s awareness of our unique Australian animals and their habitats and how we can all play our part in their protection is so important.”
The ‘Aussie Wildlife Champions’ education program provides engaging lesson plans for 18 Australian species and introduces children to core principles of conservation and Australia’s iconic and/or endangered species. Fun and age-specific videos describe the criticality and lifecycle of species such as Native Bees, Crocodiles, Numbats and Bilbies. Each lesson is filled with delightful imagery, insights and activities that will expand children’s understanding of the breadth, depth and uniqueness of Australia’s native species.
“Australia is home to some of the most unique (and adorable) animals in the world and yet traditionally Australian children in preschool and kindergarten classrooms are still taught about only a fraction of our native animals,” Dr Jones said.
“Through the Aussie Wildlife Champions program within our Lifelong Learning Curriculum we’re setting our educators and teachers up to deliver a powerful combination of conservation and education, engaging our little learners in the wonders of Australia’s native wildlife and inspiring new and emerging generations to care for our country.”
Tim Allard, AWC Chief Executive Officer, welcomed the partnership as a critical step forward to bringing the community into the critical journey of conservation.
“Australia’s biodiversity is under threat and our species face increasing risk of extinction, so we need to achieve conservation outcomes at scale rapidly,” Allard said.
“Progress can only be made with collaboration and public support so we’re excited this partnership with Affinity Education Group will enable us to connect with young children and their families.
“We need a world where Australia’s biodiversity is valued and effectively conserved by an engaged community and children are the heartbeat of our community with the power to garner understanding and change the world.”
The restorative impacts of our natural environment are widely documented, and this program also aims to connect children to nature early. By encouraging an inquisitive approach to the natural world, both organisations hope to provide a regenerative force for our young people while fostering a love, and care for, our Australian landscapes.
The ‘Aussie Wildlife Champions Family Fun At Home mini program will provide information-packed, fun and interactive lesson plans available on AWC and linked on Affinity’s Lifelong Learning Curriculum website.
Affinity is one of Australia’s largest providers of early education and childcare with more than 220 childcare centres, kindergartens, preschools and Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) locations across Australia.
AWC is a global leader in conservation providing hope to Australia’s wildlife with a science-informed land management approach that reaches over 12.9 million hectares across the country.
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