The primary learning goal of the Zero Waste website is to engage young children (3- 5 years old) in early environmental learning and to improve the way we look after our environment through Zero Waste management. Particularly, by listening, watching, and virtual practicing through Zero Waste site, young children should be able to learn about the concept of Zero Waste and understand how to recycle and compost garbage and utilize the four new waste stream Zero Waste stations with high efficiency. In order to learn more about our surrounding environment through the Zero Waste website, children have ability to identify solutions to conflicts happening in our environment; in order to care for planet earth from their early age (Ministry of Education, 2007). Moreover, I hope the site can also be a great tool for adults (educators and parents) to prepare educational materials to support their children’s learning and, in turn, to develop their behaviours, thinking, and formation of habits (Murray, 2008).
The Home Page of The Zero Waste site is very simple and easy to use, showing considerable respect for children and parents alike. The straightforward design, with its white space, bright colours, and background images, will immediately catch the eyes of the visitors (children and parents). The homepage is arranged in clear four sections, the overall styling is clean and consistent. This makes it easier for educators, parents, and children to see the content. Children can browse and navigate freely, while focusing on the four main sections:
Pre-Learning Section is a motivational section presenting detailed information on the SFU Sustainability plan through short text and videos. It generally serves as a brief introduction to children to show them about significance of recycling and problem of waste. Early childhood educators and parents explain the texts and show videos to children that can bring the general overview of what Zero Waste is and why we need to recycle and compost waste.
Learning Begin Section uses a variety of art materials for the tactile experiences and exploration of the children. Based on SFU Sustainability Zero Waste Strategic Plan, this site provides garbage bins in four main colours: green, blue, yellow, and black. After children click each garbage bin, they will be able to see image explanations of what type of garbage should go into each bin and what type of garbage should not go into each bin. In addition, they can learn through sight and easily remember visual details (Baker, 2015). The reason I’m replacing garbage and refundable bins with four stream stations is to educate young children to better manage the waste to increase diversion of waste from landfills, which can meet the goal of Metro Vancouver’s targets Sustainability Strategic Plan.
Wenger et al.(2002) in their article, pointed out that the third principle of cultivating communities learning is to “invite different levels of participation” (p.55). Based on this principle, the Learning Game Section will be followed by three different levels, such as beginner, intermediate, and advanced, to encourages children to naturally to participated in learning development. In addition, children will have lots of fun and be involved while learning how to properly recycle waste. For beginner and intermediate levels, the games will ask the children to sort the falling items into the correct garbage bin and catch the recyclables with their corresponding bins. Moreover, the game in the advanced level is based on Cinderella story and established the story line. During the storyline, I have set up few questions about recycling and the children have to be more careful to put items into the correct bins. As long as they put the right items into correct bins, the story will continue. This will assist children in developing advanced level understanding about recycling and composting in different situations. At the same time, educators can also use the game to examine young children about their learning process.
The Related Videos Section that I chosen for this site can help young children to deeply understand the reason why do we need to recycle and compost garbage. 3 – 5years old children are curious about everything, which leads to a lots of ‘why’ questions. The videos will be so important for encouraging them as learners and help them find answers for their questions.
In the end, About Us Page provides a detailed introduction of the Zero Waste website will include audiences and mission/goal of the site. Additionally, I also provided the contact information of the main administrator of this website and the contact forms for users (Early Childhood Educators and Parents), giving feedback and asking questions about my site. This design feature allows users to leave messages to reach the web administrator directly.