As it is World Cleanup Day on Sunday 17th September 2023, we thought it timely to share about our Sustainability Programs and hopefully inspire you to do your part on World Cleanup Day!
The theme for World Cleanup Day in 2023 is ‘The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion’, which we absolutely love since our Sustainability Programs are designed to teach the children in our care to appreciate the natural environment from an early age.
At Imagine Childcare, we are passionate about fostering a love for caring for our natural world in every child. We are proud to say that sustainable practices are embedded in our everyday routines and reflected within our educational programs.
Although each centre’s Sustainability Program is slightly different, what is consistent is the holistic approach our centres take to raising environmental awareness across all levels of our Imagine family community. Some examples of how we do this include:
- Ask families to contribute items such as old magazines, greeting cards, bottle tops, cardboard boxes, cardboard tubes and so on to be used for craft activities.
- Provide parents with Household Energy Saving tips in newsletters
- Use energy efficient appliances and white goods
- Motion sensor lights installed for energy efficiency
- Reminders on our light switches to turn off when not in use
- Majority of our centres have had solar panels installed within the last 2-3 years
- Review major supplies and see if there are more sustainable alternatives available
- Reduce our carbon imprint by only ordering supplies once a month that are delivered to the centre
- Use Bio-safe products where possible
- Establish community services focussed on reduce, reuse and recycle. For example, a community library, clothes recycle bin at the centre etc.
Kitchen and Centre Chef
- Fresh grown fruit, vegetables and herbs in the kitchen for chef to access
- Kitchen scraps are given to the chickens or put in the compost bin
- Educators engage in caring for the herb and vegetable gardens with the children
- Use face washers for after meals instead of wipes
- Educators engage in permaculture workshop. Learning ways to live holistically and guiding the children in holistic ways of being as well
- All team members are educated on sustainable practices at the centre such as using the dishwasher to reduce water waste, sorting rubbish, using homemade detergent for washing, etc
Our playgrounds feature vegetable and herb gardens, where children enjoy gardening lessons, including helping grow and harvest vegetables. Our sustainable and edible gardens are a huge success with our children and our chef is able to use the herbs and vegetables from the garden in the meals for the children, teaching them the ‘from garden to plate’ concept.
Our Educators focus on genuine connections and contributions to caring for our natural world by involving children in recycling, up cycling, use of sustainable materials, water and energy conservation and community projects. There are also recycling stations, worm farms and composting bins for the children to learn through practical application.
Many of our educational programs are focused on engaging the children in sustainability, with some examples of the activities being:
- Harvesting seeds from our fruit and vegetables and growing them in the garden.
- Learning how to sprout avocado seeds, carrot tops, pineapple tops, etc.
- Making compost in a bottle out of recycled materials
- Saving orange peels and freeze them. Grind them up when solid and add water to make an orange spray which is a natural cat deterrent and pleasant deodoriser
- Find ways to re-use items that might otherwise get thrown away (i.e., glass jars)
- Children to save and give the composter their scraps
- Growing cotton from a local cotton farmer in the kindy room
- Use many natural resources such as sticks, twigs, leaves gumnuts, shells, rocks, gems, sand, dirt, water, mud, flowers for play experiences
- Take children on treasure hunts to the park to find these natural resources
- Use recycled and homemade play equipment in combination with manufactured resources, for example, recycled milk bottles for sand scoops, discarded pots and pans for home corner and dramatic play areas, cards, bottle tops and old CDs to make mobiles to hang in trees.
We recognise the importance of using early education programs as a platform for guiding children’s understanding of their natural environment. Furthermore, it’s positive to see that more and more parents are placing an importance on teaching their children sustainable practices and demand the same of their early education providers.
If you are looking for a quality early education and childcare centre that has a focus on sustainability, we would love to hear from you. Phone our friendly team on 1300 001 154 or visit www.imagineelc.com.au to contact us online.