At Work and at Play | Teaching green

Melting sea ice is creating challenges and opportunities in Greenland (Photo: John Lumen)
February 18th, 2012 11:58 pm| by admin
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At the preschool, we aim to be as environmentally-friendly as possible. We already do so much to this end.

Most of the furniture that we are using comes from flea markets, Den Blå Avis deals and donations from people clearing out their homes. It is amazing the good quality stuff that can be found in the second-hand market. Moreover, as expected, we reuse paper, yoghurt pots, cardboard boxes, glass jars and many other containers.

On the energy front, we use energy-saving light bulbs and we have lights on timers. We also installed low-flow children’s toilets and we re-use grey water for our plants. We try to work as much as possible with online administration and electronic payment for paper waste reduction. We serve local organic food where possible and we buy in bulk for reduced packaging.

Most of our toys and materials come from sustainable sources and they are coated with non-toxic paints and finishes. We use eco-friendly cleaning and laundry products for a healthy indoor environment, and we use ceramic and glass dishes to provide a toxin-free eating experience.

Unfortunately, at our premises, we cannot separate our recyclables such as paper, glass and cans, but we make the effort of taking all of these home where we dispose of them in our building’s recycling bins.

Finally, we are planning a compost area, a dry outdoor toilet, a little patch for our own organic fruit and vegetables, and we will apply to be certified as an ‘eco-school’. While this is all fine and dandy, the most important thing for us is to teach our preschoolers about what we are doing and why. But how do you explain eco-conscious activities to a three-year-old?

Explanation alone is fruitless. The way to teach them is to help them to create habits: setting an example and having a system that small children can easily follow by modelling everyday life decisions.

They will automatically know what to do with waste: reuse it, recycle it or throw it away. Showing children how to reduce waste and save energy can become fun educational moments. It also teaches children, in a very practical manner, their impact on the environment. In this way, they will grow up with innate habits and knowledge of how to respect, protect and preserve the environment for future generations.

You are never too young to learn how to be green.

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