Children are our future, and the last thing we want them to be doing is repeating some of the mistakes of our past. That is why at Bright ELC, the topic of sustainability is more than just another classroom subject. Here, we put it into practice to teach important life lessons.
Integrating the subject of sustainability into our activities isn’t just about going green. Rather, it helps instill a sense of responsibility, personal agency, and empowers them to take small actions that make the world a better place for everyone.
Reuse and Recycle
Since young we have always been told to throw away used packaging or worn household objects. But not everything old and used should head immediately to the landfill. Instead, we show children where they can reuse and recycle, and what creative activities they can create for themselves.
Turn old cartons into an arts and craft landscape? Why not? Use bread tags for a makeshift game? That is interesting! Make a bowling alley out of used milk bottles and bundled up newspapers? Sounds like a blast! The possibilities are endless.
Our educators will also go out of their way to source reclaimed materials from Rescue Resource of Bayswater for arts and craft sessions. Rather than finding new, mass-produced items, the variety of shapes and forms presented from these materials are ideal to help spur the children’s imagination and foster their creativity.
After they are done with some of the activities, we also help children understand how to recycle the items they have used. Through this, they are able to learn how to better identify and separate items for disposal, as well as the important role recycling plays in giving back to society.
Composting and Gardening
Food waste is messy, but it can be a fun activity for all through gardening. Now, gardening doesn’t sound exciting, but it can be an essential life skill for children to pick up and cultivate throughout their lives. And composting is one way to spark their curiosity on the subject.
With all meals being cooked and prepared at Bright ELC, we have leftover food scraps to show the children how and what can be composted. Composting also helps the children understand the cycle of life, and how it helps grow healthy and nutritious vegetables.
Children are also taught how to grow vegetables in our own vegetable patch on the early learning centre grounds. Here they can learn the basic skills in gardening and how compost gives plants the nutrients it needs to thrive. When the vegetables are ready for harvest, the children will be able to connect effort and responsibilities with reward.
Conserving our Earth
Children are amazingly resourceful, and we should be too. That is why we have installed solar panels on the centre’s roof along with a rainwater collection system.
The rainwater system features a 10,000 litre tank that stores enough water to be used for the centre’s toilets and watering the children’s vegetable patch and the centre’s grounds. This stored water also gives us a chance to demonstrate to the children on how to be creative and resourceful in the way we conserve and utilise what nature gives to us.
Similarly, we have stopped the wasteful practice of drying hands with paper towels, and replaced it with reusable hand towels. This little change in the way we do things imparts a preference for not using single-use items in their everyday lives.
In the grand scheme of things, these little changes and lessons in sustainability at Bright ELC might not make a huge impact, but we believe the seeds we plant will mature into something greater and more significant for our future.