Sustainability in Childcare

Sustainability in Childcare - My Cubby House Early Learning Southport
At My Cubby House, we place high importance on sustainability.  As such, we have adopted and implemented the Little Green Steps program.   This article will outline the program and its importance in child care.

The Little Green Steps program develops and supports Education for Sustainability (EfS) in early learning centres. Early learning centres include childcare centres, preschools, kindergartens, after-school care and long daycare services for children aged 0-8 years. 

Little Green Steps has been running successfully in NSW’s Gosford City and Wyong Shire Councils since 2004. In May 2010 the Australian Association for Environmental Education WA Chapter (AAEEWA) gained assistance to run two one-day workshops in Perth for early years educators, titled ‘Promoting Environmental Sustainability in Children’s Services’. The success and interest generated by the workshops encouraged the AAEEWA to seek funding and support to run a pilot of Little Green Steps in Western Australia. 

In 2012, the AAEEWA secured funding through a Lotterywest grant and the pilot program has been underway since July. Little Green Steps is directly supporting sustainability learning and practice in three not-for-profit childcare centres, one each in the City of Canning, Gosnells and Armadale. All early learning educators are invited to use the resources that are developed by Little Green Steps to support Education for Sustainability in their own early learning environments. 

Little Green Steps helps centres to:

  • minimise waste and reduce energy use 

  • save water choose environmentally friendly cleaning practices 

  • grow plants & vegetables recycle food scraps in a compost bin or worm farm 

  • maintain natural play spaces 

  • explore Australian plants & animals 

  • explore Aboriginal culture 

  • develop environmental policies 

  • learn about environmental issues & contribute to their solutions 

  • access resources and 

  • maintain links with relevant networks

Little Green Steps:

  • Takes a whole-of-centre approach, making sustainable learning and behaviours part of day to day activities 

  • Provides professional development workshops for staff at the centres 

  • Facilitates planning sessions with centre staff to identify and implement sustainability actions for their centres 

  • Supports the Early Years Learning Framework and National Quality Standards 

  • Maintains a network of local and national contacts within the Early Childhood and Education for Sustainability sectors 

  • Is supported by local councils and incorporates community initiatives 

  • Engages children at the centres in learning sustainable behaviours through observing and interacting with staff and the centre environment 

  • Provides staff with environmental activities and resources to use with children in structured and spontaneous activities and play 

  • Involves parents and families in the children’s learning about sustainability 

  • Assists centres to develop natural outdoor spaces for children to learn and play in 

  • Evaluates progress and outcomes throughout the program

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about the approach to sustainability at our centre, please call our office on 07 5527 1679.

Source: https://www.aaeewa.org.au/documents/LittleGreenStepsWA_About.pdf 

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