New Shoots Children’s Centre is thinking and discussing sustainability this month. As parents, we often like the idea of sustainability but find it challenging to fit into our busy households. Here are some thoughts about supporting a journey towards a greener, eco-friendly lifestyle that can begin right at home.
Sustainability is the ability to maintain or support a process over time. Sustainability is often broken into three core concepts: economic, environmental, and social elements.
Shaping a solid future for your tamariki inspires us to reduce the social, environmental, and ethical impacts. Credible supply chains and a curriculum infused with sustainability are vital to us at New Shoots
Each one of us matters, has a role to play, and makes a difference. Each one of us must take responsibility for our own lives, and, above all, show respect and love for living things around us, especially each other.” Jane Goodall
Curated with Care
Our leaders passionately curate our resources, building a unique, high-quality, toxin-free collection you can trust. These include BPA-free, phthalate-free, lead-free wooden materials, equipment, and high-quality toys that use natural dyes and oils.
You’ll also find many natural materials: stone, metals, wood, clay and plants, plus second-hand and repurposed items, which are an ongoing passion at New Shoots.
Our cleaning products keep our centres healthy and support sustainable re-investment. We partner with New Zealand’s leading waste companies for optimal recycling, and our staff uniforms come from a local, ethical supplier.
Here are some fun examples that we have identified that you can quickly implement with your families at home or help us extend what we do at New Shoots.
Recycling is an easy way to reduce waste. Start a recycling station at home and involve your children. Explain what can and cannot be recycled, and consider using recyclables for arts and crafts, creating shops and family play to make it fun and educational. We would love to see unused/empty items brought into the Centres to grow our collections.
Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose
Incorporate the three Rs into your daily routine: reduce, reuse, repurpose, and talk to this. Use reusable shopping bags, water bottles, and containers. These do make a big difference in reducing waste. By drawing on resources we have readily available around the home and centre, we can create open learning opportunities such as old loyalty cards, business cards, reference photos and books, cookbooks, picture books, framed pictures of familiar places and people, first aid boxes including plasters, bandages, thermometers, etc.This all forms part of our thinking of a sustainable future.
Some more examples of everyday tools and utensils that can be incorporated are :
- Kitchen tools – colander, sieves, rolling pin, small pots and pans, teapot, coffeepot, cookie cutters, timers, mortar and pestle, whisks, and spoons, cake and muffin tins, small loaf tins, pie moulds, sponges, dishcloths, tea towels, pot holders, etc.
- Appliances with their cords removed – hand mixers, egg beaters, kitchen scales, clocks, telephones, hair rollers, brushes, hairdryers, straighteners, etc.
- Office equipment – envelopes, stamps, seals, stickers, junk mail, keyboards, computer mouse, etc.
- Gardening equipment, toolbox and tools, picnic baskets, etc.
Props Promoting Roles within the Community
Children are connected to the broader community through experiences in their everyday lives beyond the home and early childhood environment, such as grocery shopping, taking pets to the vet, filling up a car with petrol, or going to the doctor. Noticing, recognising, and responding to these interests is a key opportunity for setting the scene for role play.
Energy Efficiency Matters
Save energy by turning off lights and appliances when not in use. Teach your children the importance of saving energy and reducing your family’s carbon footprint. You can even make it a game to see who can remember to turn off the lights first! We are always amazed at how children can become the power conservation police.
If you have a garden or a small balcony, involve your children planting vegetables or herbs. Gardening connects you with nature and teaches your children about the cycle of life and where their food comes from, resulting in healthier eating habits.
Make Sustainable Choices
Shop consciously. Choose products with minimal packaging and made from eco-friendly materials. Discuss these choices with your children and explain why they matter. Consider op shops for second-hand treasures, and let your children pick out items they love. Consider where and how products are made and child labour in supply chains. While this is a very complex issue, it’s essential to consider it.
Lead by Example
Remember, we are the role models. We can show our Tamariki that sustainability is part of our daily lives. Actions speak louder than words; when they see you practising, they’ll be more inclined to follow suit.
When it comes to sustainability, every little bit that we can do counts.