Let's BEE Green!
At Kidzrus we have incorporated sustainability into our Quality Improvement Plan with a view to reducing and eventually eliminating the use of plastics, cardboard and other non-recyclable items. We have appointed Eco Champions in each setting and their role is to educate our colleagues, children and their families about the devastating effect of our ‘throw away society and culture’ and to gain their support in protecting the environment.
After talking to staff around our nurseries it was clear that there is little to no knowledge and understanding around climate change so we are now taking active steps in becoming greener, and more aware; therby giving everyone involved an opportunity and platform to help others in the wider community to understand what is happening on our planet.
The world is full of many wonderful things, wonderful animals, interesting plants and trees, and even better people. However, full is the key word! The world is overpopulated and while this is amazing for building relationships and support networks, it ultimately means that the environment suffers. Due to a human life full of convenience, manufacturing, and taking and not protecting, the planet simply cannot support that amount of consumption. We are taking more then what was originally provided for us but there are things that we can do as living beings to help protect what is left, one example being increased recycling of waste and limiting what is placed into landfill.
At Kidzrus we have made a wonderful start in becoming more sustainable with the introduction recycling tubs and bins in the kitchens and staffrooms for the staff to recycle bottles, tins, glass jars, paper etc… small steps so we can make a difference together. Additionally, we have placed light switch and water signs around each setting, encouraging our colleagues to turn them off when not in us; thereby reducing waste of energy and water. Our next step is to look at reducing the amount plastic we have within the settings and will move from using plates and beakers to alternatives, then attempt to change the type of packaging that our suppliers use on foodstuffs and other resources that are provided across the Group.
All pre-school children have also made a start in becoming greener and learning about recycling and across all of our nurseries we have been teaching children and planning activities around recycling and climate change. There will be many more activities on the way for our children that will help them to understand climate change and start a lifelong conversation. Is it so key and vital now to educate our children as they are our future leaders, and researchers. Teaching children about climate change now may encourage them to insert this knowledge in their future and help the planet thrive and survive.
As a Kidzrus community let’s start the big conversation and do what we can, together and individually. “This is now our planet, run by humankind for the humankind, there is nothing left for the rest of the living world” (Sir David Attenborough, A Life On Our Planet). We will be releasing more information about climate change and what we can do to help in the near future.
Kidzrus teaching our children good practice in sustainability
Our aims and objectives are to cover sustainability in the early years, global responsibility and forward planning for sustainability.
How we support sustainability:
What can we do together to teach the children in our settings about sustainability?
To promote global responsibility we might teach the children about:
Don’t touch because it can hurt you; point it out and don’t drop it!. Our pre school children will design and put up a ‘do not litter’ sign in the garden.
Promote – reduce – reuse – recycle. We are challenging parents and children to think about rubbish free lunch boxes when they go out on trips and visits.
Learn about energy:
We are teaching our children simple science – living things need… energy…Where does energy come from? Sun, food, water – we need energy to play and grow. We are asking our children and their families to think about how we can save energy by turning things off and using less.
Transport – journeys:
A lot of children enjoy learning about transport and journeys. We include this theme regularly – by discussing the benefits of, for example, electric cars and hybrid cars; walking – cycling – running etc.
Food and drink:
Where do foods come from? We are planning a visit the local market and eat locally and use circle / group time to talk about emotions – what food makes us happy / sad?
We give the children age-appropriate messages about the world in which we live.
We found a lot of good ideas on the Empowered Educator website written by an Australian early years child carer – in Australia they have to demonstrate sustainability:
Some of the books and songs we are going to focus on are:
- Oliver’s Fruit and Oliver’s Vegetables by Vivian French
- The fruit salad song by The Wiggles
- All kinds of transport by Emma Damon
- What does it mean to be global? by Rana DiOrio
- Let’s Eat by Beatrice Hollyer
- Dinosaurs and all that Rubbish published by Puffin
- Skip across the ocean – foreword from Floella Benjamin
- Your world, My world by Melanie Walsh
In all of our activities we always think about safety and risk assess before starting them, considering the ages and stages of development of the children in our care. If/when we are sending crafts and resource ideas home, we are mindful
to share information with parents about safety.
Making instruments – we use old pots and ingredients such as rice or pasta. We make our own… paint, paintbrushes with leaves and play dough with some lavender or oils; potions and perfume.
Planting and growing – we check what foods are safe to eat and eat what we grow in our settings. We include information about not eating flowers without checking with an adult first to support children’s learning and understanding about risk assessing their own play.
Healthy living – we teach the children about an environmentally friendly setting– for example, using natural cleaning products and ask the children to help us mix them.
Being healthy – we talk about the importance of drinking water, moving for 3 hours a day and eating healthily and well. Even our youngest children can understand about portion size and choosing wisely as these skills are demonstrated by adults.
War on waste – we have already made a start on litter and will further develop this by learning about different types of litter. When guidelines allow we plan on visiting the local recycling centre together.
Working with parents – teaching children about respecting the world around them starts at home. We are passionate about working closely with our parents to extend learning opportunities within the home environment.
Local community involvement – we local area to support this teaching and learning and colleagues and children speak with local folk when out litter picking.
British wildlife – we teach our children about our British animals, plants, trees etc This links to ‘Understanding the World – The World’ in Early Years Outcomes and is likely to be included in the revised Early Learning Goals.
Nature walk – our children take a spotter page and pencils – what can they see?
Natural art – paint leaves or stones – our children look at the work of Andy Goldsworthy.
Weather awareness – we teach our children the basics of global warming and they learn about different types of weather.
Messy play – we often make a little more food than the children will eat and use it in messy tray.
Recycled furniture – tyres as tables and cable rolls for cars and small world play will be making an appearance at our settings… what else can our children do with them?
We want children to become ‘active participants in their own learning’ so we challenge their creativity and provide them with activities that will help them to learn more about the world in which we live. They are the custodians of our world looking to the future