Citizens have the potential to influence their environment and the amenities that are included in it for theirs and others enjoyment, a diverse range of people affect how these choices are made and managed (Reynolds, 2014). Through learning in Geography students explore and study places, both near and far. It is through the study of place that affects our thinking of contemporary issues; the need for inclusive environments within communities is certainly this (Cresswell, 2008).
This integrated learning experience between Geography and Citizenship education looks for students to investigate their local communities amenities and whether or not they meet the needs of all young people within the community and its surrounds (Gilbert & Hoepper, 2014). Year 5 students will be required to explore who makes decisions in the community, the different views people may have and how they can make these heard (ACHGK029) (Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2015).
In a group discussion students will be posed with the question: The play grounds in Burnie, can every person play on them? Do they allow the opportunity for everyone to be included? Students’ thoughts will be recorded.
Images of different playgrounds situated around the North West coast, mainland Australia and from over seas will be shown to students (both printed and on the interactive whiteboard (IW)).
– Discuss what they see including: what’s different, what’s the same, and what do they notice about the people in them?
Show students this news report
Explain that some pictures show ‘inclusive playgrounds’ (IP) and some playgrounds that are less inclusive. Along the NW Coast there are IP’s at Ulverstone and Devonport. Students will be asked about their experiences with IPs.
In groups, students will sort which playgrounds they think are more inclusive and which ones they think are less; then compare, discuss and share two points with the class.
The teacher will read out and display on the IW one question at a time (below), groups will be given time to deliberate, then a group will be called on to provide their answer. Some possible questions will include:
– Should we have an IP?
– Is it important to have an IP in every town? Why/why not
– Does not having one in our local area meet the needs of people within our local and wider community?
– What advantages/disadvantages to people, children and their families does having an inclusive playground pose?
Groups will research IP designs (provided with appropriate links); the group will then divide. Half will design a playground incorporating elements they found from research and ideas they had. Students are encouraged to be imaginative and creative in their choices. The other half will draft a letter to the council expressing the need for an IP to be implemented in Burnie – the letter should include advantages to both the individual and the community, information about the playground they have designed and outline at least two special features.
From engagement in activities that occur in the students’ local environment students interact with ‘place’; this interaction helps to foster an appreciation of their surroundings and leads to involvement within the community (Beames, Higgins & Nicol, 2012).
Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (2015). Geography content descriptors. Retrieved from: http://v7-5.australiancurriculum.edu.au/humanities-and-social-sciences/geography/curriculum/f-10?layout=1#level5
Beames, S., Higgins, P., Nicol, R. (2012). Learning outside the classroom: theory and guidelines for practice. New York, NY: Routledge.
Cresswell, T. (2008). Place: encountering geography as philosophy. Geography, 93(3), 132-9.
Gilbert, R., Hoepper, B. (Eds.). (2014). Teaching humanities and social sciences: history, geography, economics and citizenship (5th ed.). South Melbourne, VIC: Cengage Learning Australia.
Reynolds, R. (2014). Teaching humanities and social sciences in the primary school (3rd ed.). South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press.