Galvanising your Nursery’s whole Early Learning Team into
EARTH-FRIENDLY ACTION NOW
is easy to do since transforming your Nursery into a completely environmentally friendly community can be fun as well as rewarding. A few thoughtful adjustments will make a huge difference to the education and future of our youngest generation. Not only will the old habits that are destroying the planet be arrested in the Nursery community, a whole new, fresh generation will learn to view eco-friendly practices as the norm.
Here are just a few ideas that can be implemented immediately…
Offer staff extra holiday days if they travel by train instead of by plane.
Provide monthly sustainable prizes for great environment-friendly teaching and learning.
Encourage car sharing by introducing parents who live in neighbouring postcode or ones en route to the nursery.
Join WWF, so staff can stay informed and know what we can all do to help.
Join the Woodland Trust or ask them for free trees for schools.
Contribute to 4Ocean and receive monthly ocean recycled bracelets to use as target prizes.
Get a Bee Saver Kit for your Nursery garden with wildflower seeds, garden planner, bee spotter and guide, and post cardsfor bees. Available from Friends of The Earth.
Use two different bins in each Nursery room – one for non-recyclable waste, one for recyclable and engage children so they use them accurately.
Up-Cycle all plastic, do not throw it away, and invent with it.
Minimise food waste. Use any uncooked vegetable left overs for your growing area compost, or to feed your chickens, or arrange for them to be picked up to be turned into biofuel.
Constantly ask Managers and Teams for their ideas and trial them too.
Link your Nurseries to a local scrap project, where clean reusable items, such as stationary and unwanted furniture, are donated by businesses and can be sourced and reused by children and schools.
They are so fun to go to and are a great starting point for inspired, open-ended and creative learning. Google your nearest depot, or find your nearest Scrapstore at www.reusefuluk.org
Engage all Managers and Staff in implementing a Sustainable Curriculum, see below.
A Sustainable Curriculum
Your Nursery’s sustainable curriculum is where all your team’s aims and ideas about cutting back your plastic use and carbon footprint can be gathered together and made into a formidable force for good. It is a powerful, unifying dynamic which will quickly gather momentum among your Nursery community if committed to by all and implemented implicitly.
A sustainable curriculum not only gives your Nursery’s children the best opportunities to engage in wonderful, immersive experiences, it is a clear message to all your parents, stakeholders, future parents, staff and children that you are all 100% committed to improving – it’s not wrong to say - saving our planet for our children’s future. Those Nurseries which have already committed to being 100% eco-friendly are reporting how the change has become a unifying force between staff, parents and children of all ages, beliefs and ethnic origin, who are all proud to be part of the mission. Global warming is a problem for everyone and addressing it is a meaningful goal for all.
Add some books to Your Team
Education for Sustainable Citizenship in Early Childhood
Education for Sustainable Citizenship- Think Children's Future For Today
Both books are by Lynette Brock and John Siracusa Blatchford and have some brilliant EY ideas for tasks and projects to engage your children with.
Cheryl Hadland, (at Tops and GECCO) has put a great idea into action.
Try nominating a member of staff in each room who can keep an eye on the practice, room and on shared areas, and can then tell the team any great sustainable changes needed for resourcing and energy use!
Working With Your Team
Below is what we agreed to ‘Action’ and have been putting in with our teams :
FOCUS IS LESS WASTE AND ECONOMIC ENERGY USE
Cut back waste and make our resource usage economical in :
Toilet roll etc
(And to teach staff to teach their children how and why)
Change Energy Providers to 100% renewable
We will try to upcycle and not bin (eg. squirters)
We will use up what we have too eg. Felt pens.....then rather than bin ask Terracycle to help
Trees - this one is equally important - we can get free ones from the Woodland Trust
LED bulbs, most current light fittings should take them
Paper wrapped recyclable loo roll
Recycled copy paper
Recycle our printing ink cartridges
Glass milk bottles with Cool Milk
Soap bars only in toilets and kitchen
Earth-friendly cleaning products
Local producers for quality fruit and veg delivered in crates
(And to use these opportunities to extend our curriculum and understanding)
Separate recycling bins in each room, and all nappies and food waste is sent to be made into Biofuel
Plastic felt pens
Plastic glue sticks and plastic based glue! We have found recipes for homemade!
Paints that are acrylic which is plastic based
Plastic gloves and aprons everywhere, only when really necessary and not single use
Veg delivery in plastic bags, it can come in crates or boxes
Plastic water bottles once worn and unusable
Leaving chargers turned on unless needed
Squirters that are non earth friendly, reuse old bottles
Amazon and all other single deliveries because of wrapping and miles travelled sometimes alone!
Photocopying and Printing - putting in a parent forum on each website with policies and newsletters on.
Keeping cool inside
Air conditioning - use sparingly and try this too:
Rooms can be kept cool by closing curtains, blinds or shutters, opening several windows to let a through current of air, and making sure you do this at the beginning of any hot days. In the rooms make sure there is lots of water to drink and for play.
Have calm and quietly engaging activities, and play calm music. Try to serve cold watery snacks like fruit or salad. For younger children try to have drinks at room temperature because ‘ice cold’ can be hard work or a shock for hot bodies and can interrupt digestion.
Keeping cool outside
Take groups of children and lots of water to a park which has good tree shade or a woodland, arboretum or forest.
Make sure children don’t have any excess clothes on. Staff are free to wear plain shorts or skirts.
Making energy sweeps of the nursery to see what can be turned off, including number of fridges and tablets and iPad's at night.
INSIDE AS WELL AS OUTSIDE SUSTAINABLE CURRICULUM
A few changes to help the environment:
1. Role play natural dens etc inside too
2. Water play inside...it cools the environment
3. Mark making and decorating in sand etc and mandalas
4. Scrap building- find your local scrap project and join
5. Only use scrap paper from scrap project ...no new
6. Sewing and weaving, wood and stick joining and macrame
7. Discovery books and nature and magnifiers etc
8. Sorting and comparing nature brought in from outside
9. Size and weights nature brought in from outside
10.Book making from scrap paper and book sharing
11.Bug hotels and little homes for hedgehogs in a quiet place
12.Research- there’s much more already out there
The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book?