At Little Zak’s we actively have an ongoing ‘whole of centre approach’ to celebrating environmental sustainability. This fully encapsulates all of us honouring, nurturing and protecting the wonders of life. It is not just a major part of our curriculum, our operations, educators, parents, children, management, and community all support our clean green future through many initiatives together.
We place a high value and importance on giving children rich, diverse and warm experiences that promote environmental sustainability. We ensure that children become aware and responsible for the future of our world. Our sustainability practices are embedded in our service operations as per the National Quality Standard. Our holistic approach involves active participation of children, enquiry and social change.
We work with the early childhood environmental education networks in NSW and Australia wide. Some of the areas we cover are:
Biodiversity different species of plants and animals in the garden and the places they live: ecosystems
Energy efficiency, saving, types, sustainable and renewable energy, electricity and climate change
Stormwater rainwater that does not soak into the ground, the channels taking it to waterways
Waste involving children in the centre’s best practice waste management, what, why, and the impact
Water all forms, uses, essential for survival, saving, play, supplies and best practice management
We involve our children wherever possible in the development and implementation of sustainability strategies. We consider their prior knowledge and expertise to enable children to practise critical and creative thinking, problem-posing and problem solving. They do decision-making, reflection and communication on environmental sustainability. Our children learn over time exhaustively about all the areas.
Our children grow vegetables, gardens and pot plants. We have worm farms and compost bins. Of course we have recycling. Our educators find interesting ways to cover the topics. For example they use puzzles, science, games, books, role plays, singing, dancing and craft. The children make their own videos and books. That’s always fun. We do indoor and outdoor activities to stimulate learning about our sustainable future. We also conduct excursions and invite role models, speakers, teachers, local nurseries, indigenous teachers, performers and volunteer gardeners to teach physically and practically.
We constantly encourage everybody to find fresh ideas to funnel into our systems. We seek out schools, community gardens, environmental centres, nurseries, council and science organisations to be involved and aid the flow-on effect of helping and sharing practices.
We find creative ways at parent meetings where we plan, cover the differing aspects and encourage brainstorming of ideas. We also include it in our newsletter. We have posters at the entrance, brochures and send out emails, flyers, resource kits and text to communicate and correspond with parents.
We all collaborate with many members and groups in our community to ensure a bright and healthy future for us and our planet.