Early Learning, School and Homeschool Programs

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council offers a range of free programs for our local early learning providers, schools and homeschool families to empower our children and youth with localised knowledge and skills that support them in becoming responsible and sustainably-minded active citizens in our local community.

Early Learning Education Program

Expression of interest for our 2024 program is now open.
To enable us to visit as many centres throughout the year as possible, these sessions are offered in blocks at different stages throughout the year. Please complete the EOI form below by Friday 1 March and we will be in touch soon after with available sessions and times for you. Please note, while we will do our best, we may not be able to accommodate all your requests.

Our program is best suited to ages 4+ and we prepare our sessions with this in mind.  If you have younger children keen to participate, please discuss this when we contact you to book.

Round 1: March (10 sessions available)
Round 2: October (10 sessions available)

A visit from Whizzy and our Education Officers is a fun way to engage children in water conservation education. Together, we’ll explore why every drop counts and how we can all do our bit at home and in our community to reduce our water use.

Offered in November (20 sessions available across this session and ‘Less to Landfill’)

This session teaches some of the simple rules about using our yellow bin correctly.  We’ll practise identifying different types of recycling materials, learn how to spot the ‘triangle’ recycling symbol on plastics and have a go at sorting yellow bin recycling from red bin waste. 

Offered in November (20 sessions available across this session and ‘Recycle Right’)

This session is suited to children who feel fairly confident with how to recycle properly and are looking for the next steps to be a waste warrior!

We’re on a mission to send less waste to landfill and we’re calling on our children to help! In this interactive workshop, we’ll take a look at our local landfill and explain why too much waste is a problem, then look at some ways we can reduce, reuse and recycle so that we can send less to landfill.

Round 1: March/April (5 sessions available)
Round 2: November/December (5 sessions available)

Inspired by the ‘Holiday Time’ pedestrian safety campaign by The Little Blue Dinosaur, this session helps children understand the importance of holding an adult’s hand when crossing or walking near our roads. We take a look at the different sorts of roads and crossings we might find in our local area, and learn a song to help us all remember to “hold a hand tight, look left, look right’ before crossing the road.

Primary and Secondary Program


Our incursions are offered throughout the year to assist you in creating deeper, localised learning experiences within your existing units of work. Choose from the range of popular topics below or request a specific topic on the enquiry form and we’ll do our best to tailor a session to your needs. Most sessions can be delivered as either a classroom workshop or large group interactive talk and can be discussed at the point of booking.

Delivered by Grow Sustainability on behalf of Port Macquarie-Hastings Council
Best suited to ES1 – S2

Sustainability sounds complex, but living sustainably can be simple
and easy. This module shines a spotlight
on human interaction with nature and its resources, and how we can
all make choices to tread lightly in our use of energy, food, clothing,
water and waste. Students engage with global issues through critical
thinking and hands-on activities with real-life actions to take home
and implement.

This session offers students a hands-on exploration of our need to send less to landfill and how to minimise waste through the waste heirarchy principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle. Participants will learn to view waste as a resource and be introduced to the basic principles of the circular economy. This session not only aligns with environmental education goals but also encourages critical thinking and innovation, developing knowledge and skills to actively contribute to a more sustainable world.

This session is offered as an alternative for those who may not be able to take advantage of our facility tour excursions. Using our brand new interactive water map, students will be able to explore our water, wastewater and recycled water facilities virtually while learning about our local urban water cycle. This session can be tailored to align with your unit of work or learning focus area, with common topics either focusing on water conservation and/or water security for our future.

With over 170 threatened species in our local area, this presentation brings our students on a journey across our local ecological communities to learn about why we need to consider nature as we move about in our community. We also take a look at what we can all do to help protect and conserve our local flora and fauna.

Our coastlines are constantly changing. Storms and stronger tides move sand offshore, and often returns during calmer conditions. This interactive talk helps students learn more about what shapes our coastline, the impact erosion can have, how Council monitors and manages these impacts, and how to be a Citizen Scientist to help care for our coast.

Community consultation is an integral part of Council and community planning and development, and our children and youth play an important role in this process. This session introduces students to the role and purpose of Community Engagement at Council and explores various ways community members can have their say about projects and decisions that impact them and the future of our community. Using relatable local case studies, the session aims to deepen civic education and foster active citizenship among students, giving them real-world experience in how to ‘have your say’ at Council.

Facility Tours and Excursions

We offer free tours of many of our Council facilities and outdoor spaces, which can be booked individually or combined for a half or full day excursion. Complete a booking enquiry form and one of our education officers will be in touch to discuss suitable options. Please note, you will need to coordinate your on transport for these tours and provide proof of appropriate public liability insurance.

Available to Stage 3 and above only

Take a bus tour around Cairncross Waste Management facility and drop into the Education Room to chat about the “how’s” and “why’s” of waste management in our local area. Students will hear about landfill management, organic and material recovery (including recycling), and have a chance to pose questions to our waste management expert.

Targeted towards ES1 – S2 but can be tailored to any age group

While already open to the public with a well-equipped picnic and barbecue area and beautiful artworks on display, our Cowarra Dam tour allows you the opportunity for “beyond the gates” access along the dam wall and out to the tower, with a guided walk and talk about the dam construction, function and purpose. Participants will also join in activities to learn more about the cultural heritage and significance of the site, explore why water is precious, and share tips to make every drop count.

Available to Stage 3 and above only. For ES1 – Stage 2, please enquire about our ‘Our Prescious Water’ tour to Cowarra Dam

This tour is designed to showcase the vital processes that bring water from our Hastings river to our homes, visiting both Wauchope Water Treatment Plant and Cowarra Dam. Discover the engineering, environmental, and cultural significance behind our water management processes and learn why water conservation is crucial for sustainability. The experience aims to foster a deeper appreciation and understanding of the water journey, its significance, and the collective effort needed to protect this invaluable resource.

Suitable to Stage 4 and above only. For ES1 – Stage 2, please enquire about our ‘Our Prescious Water’ tour to Cowarra Dam or we can tailor an incursion to suit your needs.

Are your students curious about what happens after we flush the toilet or where the water goes after it heads down the drain? This interactive excursion will cure their curiosity as we explore the second part of our urban water cycle – our wastewater and recycled water networks. Adjustable to suit learning stages, interests, and topics being studied, students will have the opportunity to see our facilities in action as they gain a better understanding of where the water goes, why it’s important to consider what else goes with it, and what we are doing to secure this precious natural resource into our future.

Suitable for Stage Early Stage 1 + (max 30 students / session)

This is a great opportunity for students to learn about what goes into designing our play spaces around our community, including the roles both our Council and our community members play in the planning and design of our local playgrounds. This session can be delivered as an incursion, or we can meet you at your local playground.

Program Partners

We are proud to support these quality education programs, available for free to our local education providers.

The Lunchmakers Program

The Lunch Makers program aims to empower kids to be involved in preparing and making their own lunch and reducing food waste in your school or preschool!

Students’ new skills are celebrated with a ‘Pack Your Own Lunch Day’ during the Term. 

This program is offered free to preschools and primary schools.

Koala Smart Program

Koala Smart is a free conservation program designed to inspire primary & secondary students to actively create positive change and save our koalas. 

The program is curriculum-aligned with ready-to-go lesson plans, supporting resources and an optional project component that connects students with local experts to help bring their big ideas to life in our community.

Sustainable Schools NSW

Sustainable Schools NSW aims to connect environmental educators with professional support, resources and a like-minded community to help spread the important message of sustainability to future generations.

Visit their website or sign up to their newsletter to keep up to date with professional learning and networking opportunities, programs and new resources available.

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Early Years Expression of Interest

Expression of interest for our 2024 Early Years program will close on Friday, 1 March. We will be in contact during March to offer places in the program according to your preferences.

Booking Enquiry Form

Please complete the form below and our education team will touch base soon to discuss your enquiry.