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RECYCLING AT YOUR DAY CARE
By Fiona Lohrenz
RECYCLING AT YOUR DAY CARE
Both my day care and personal abode have seen my attempts at being as 'green' as possible in recent years. It's not that long since I was making the glorious fortnightly trip to the recycling center with my meticulously divided waste before the advent of curbside collection. My feeble attempts at preserving the environment were, I felt, the least I could do as a polluting, wasteful human.
Running a day care has been a great opportunity to try to educate the next generation in environmental awareness. Besides incorporating ecology lessons into the curriculum we have a stringent recycling ethos throughout the day care and the kids both observe and are active in the daily routines. They know what the different bins are for (paper, plastic, glass etc), are aware of our compost heap and how it works and are constantly reminded not to waste water or electricity.
We use various fun learning games to instil this knowledge into the kids (where does paper come from, which bin does the waste paper go into) and it is a lot easier than you might think. Children are like little sponges and they are open to new concepts and ideas. Their enthusiasm is infectious and goes a long way towards changing more rigid mindsets outside the day care – I have had quite a few parents tell how they got into trouble at home for not recycling! I love it!!
We make gentle recommendations to parents to choose products based on the recyclibility of the packaging when they send in store bought snacks. We offer information on choosing more environmentally friendly options e.g. buying yogurt in large, cardboard pots instead of the small plastic ones, getting raisins in bulk instead of small cardboard boxes, reusing juice bottles etc. The kids get involved via an art project that incorporates pictures of more environmentally friendly containers.
Every day care owner knows how many batteries are required for all those annoying... er educational toys!! You can save money and reuse your batteries when you buy a battery recharger. If you do have a cache of old batteries lying around take them to a local battery recycling depot (there are lots around).
We can make a huge difference with a little extra thought and effort and a variety of small changes. Environmental awareness can become second nature to kids and we, as day care providers, have this wonderful opportunity to mold their little minds. We can be proud when we hear that our preschoolers are reprimanding adults on issues green!!
Owning and operating a day care for 10 years provides Fiona Lohrenz with lots of material for her child care articles. Not to mention her childcare website and DVD guide to Starting a ChildCare business at www.startchildcare.com.
This article was submitted by Fiona Lohrenz for electronic reproduction on www.moondragon.org February 21, 2008. Thank you Fiona for your contribution.
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