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Sustainable Practices

This area was not very big in early childhood before National Quality Standards came into place, as it was not really covered under the old regulations or under NCAC quality areas.  So, we need to start thinking how we can turn our centres into more sustainable places.  You might already have started putting things into place or have some great ideas.  Below are some ideas that can help you brainstorm. 

Recycle your rubbish – A good idea is having different bins for different things (e.g a bin for recyclable items boxes, plastic containers anything that could be recycled, a bin for food scraps and a bin for all other items.) There are many companies out there that have child-sized recyle bins that you can have in rooms for chlidren and Educators to use. Children can be responsible for the recycling program in your room. You may choose to keep some items to re-use, such as scrap paper etc, and then you can dispose of the other items appropriately.     

Compost bins – start collecting all your food scraps and place in a compost bin, make sure you involve the children in this by having a container children can put their food scrapes in and get them to help fill up the compost bin and explain to them how it works.   

Worm farms – you can place your food scrapes in this and then either sell the worm juice to parents or use it on your own gardens.      

 Vegie Patch – this is a great way to teach children where vegetables comes from.  Children can see the whole cycle by placing their food scrapes into the compost bin and worm farm which then helps their vegetables grow, they can then see how the vegetables are then used in cooking.      

Look at the ways you can recycle & conserve energy and water, this could be a great discussion with the older groups of children that way they have their input also make sure you are involving families and all educators in these discussions as well.  From these discussions you can create your services environmental strategy.  It is vital that you don’t just have the above items just sitting there and educators not implementing them and embedding it into their program, otherwise it is just a tokenistic view on sustainability.

 The other area to look at, is when doing activities with children and extending their interests use as much natural resources or recycled resources that you can.  Below are just a few ideas:- 

 Painting Ideas - Instead of painting on paper, collect leaves and use them to paint on or use leaves, twigs etc to paint with.  You could ask parents to see if they can bring in large leaves from home.  You could also paint on rocks  

 When doing collage you could use a lot of natural resources, or make things with these resources like a fairy garden.  How about making blocks from driftwood or other wood found in parks.  This is a great way to get families involved in your programme by asking them help you search for wood.   You can use sticks, leaves pebbles etc with play dough or clay. 

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