Sustainability and environmental concern are rightly gaining traction as popular subjects and points of consideration in all sorts of spheres of life and early education and childcare are no different. Here at See Us Grow Childcare & Learning Center we are keen to put our core values of kindness and consistency into action by taking sustainability seriously.
But first, what actually is sustainability?
The word sustainability itself literally refers to keeping something going or maintaining resources so we don’t run out, yet we believe there’s a bit more to it than that. This means that in seeking sustainability in our childcare centers we make sure that the needs of everyone are met today without compromising the needs of others in the future.
To do this, we can teach children to consider the needs of others and develop kindness and empathy so that when they are older, they can understand the impact of their actions on others both now and in the future. We can also teach them about recycling, not wasting materials, giving toys away rather than throwing them out, growing their own vegetables, and turning off taps whilst we brush our teeth.
As parents and daycare staff we are our children’s role models so we can lead by example by turning off lights when we leave the room, putting food scraps aside for composting, reusing packaging and household items for crafts, and choosing greener products at the store.
We can also ask questions about, and consider practical issues in, everyday practice within our childcare and learning centers. For example;
- How might we use less, ‘make do’ or repurpose more often?
- How do we minimize waste?
- How is recycling organized?
- How are art materials selected to minimize environmental impacts?
- What cleaning practices are in place, and could they be more sustainable by using plant-based products?
- How are plastics used for hygiene? Baby wipes? gloves for changing diapers? Aprons? Disposable diapers? Are there better alternatives?
- How do we promote and encourage breastfeeding?
- How is water conserved in sand or water play?
- How do our bathrooms use water?
- How can we be more energy efficient?
- How can we be more involved in local community environmental or sustainability events?
Sustainability is important for society as a whole, and as children are the next generation it’s important that they learn these habits and ways of thinking so that sustainability might be at the forefront in the future.