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Place as made

In other scenarios, places are made by the children's actions within specific structures of intentional pedagogical activities. Children at The Patch School began their project of remaking the school grounds by visiting a garden site intentionally designed for, and with, children. In the design process, the children used many different forms of representation to connect their imaginative possibilities with the physical potential of the place. As they got closer to executing their design ideas they engaged more closely with the physical place, measuring the slopes, scale and orientation of the school grounds using surveyors' tools and mathematical formula. They transferred their survey data into three dimensional models before finally constructing the different gardens that produced their transformed school landscape. The place of the school grounds and the children worked together in the design process and the ultimate outcome was the children's construction of new school garden places.

Place in this sense is a socio-ecological entity in which design processes such as mapping can be engaged to reconstruct the relationship between children and place. The children at Erehwon used processes of representation to help them articulate the multiple places of their language use. They began by talking together about how they translate for their mother in the bank or how they speak Vietnamese in the local restaurant. They then produce maps to visualise the nature of their language practice in different places of their everyday lives. Their maps make visible the relations between the different places of their language practice, revealing how some children navigate seamlessly across the different domains of their language practice and for others they remain separate and disconnected. Language in this study is the entry point for children to examine how they interact with the world around them, especially when they have migrated with their families from far away places. Understanding the places and nature of their multiple language practices helps children bridge the divide between home, community and school. It helps teachers and children understand the ways that language use constructs children's relations with the different places of their lives.

At Kallista the children learned in established food gardens, collecting and planting seeds, tending the growing plants, harvesting and cooking the food and composting the waste they produced. As with the children at The Patch School, they cultivated their gardens alongside the physical characteristics of the place, and within the larger seasons and cycles of weather and food production. The micro-elements of the soil and other creatures such as insect pollinators are all part of the ongoing garden making and the place of the garden is produced by children through the pedagogies of food gardening. Like the children at The Patch and Erehwon Schools, children at Kallista make and re-make the places of their worlds through their sustainability learning. The emphasis in these examples is on place as constructed by humans rather than on the ways that places shape human subjects.

There is always a wildness possibility. Places invite children to find ways to respond to their material qualities despite the structuring of places within formal sustainability education programmes. A striking example of this is where the children were so engrossed in the sensory exploration of the soil that the new soil had to be imported by the teacher before the formal programme of planting an orchard garden could begin. Wildness can also be observed in children's language maps which exceed the usual categories and separation of domains. In one map, a very brightly coloured psychic dream image was drawn on half of the map to express the child's deep heritage of the place his parents fled as boat people. Similar observations of children's learning in all of the programmes continually show the possibilities of what is in excess of logics and form in sustainability education. This excess inheres in the relation between the material qualities of places and their attraction for children.

 
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