With resources dwindling and the population growing, leading a sustainable lifestyle is more important than ever, especially when it comes to our children. Teaching them how to live sustainably early in their life can help them make more environmentally conscious choices as they grow. At Bartram Academy, we believe in expressing sustainability in childcare to help young children develop into innovators for the future. Below are a few tips on how you can incorporate sustainability into your child’s life at home.
- Be the example: Children learn by mimicking what the people around them do, which makes it important for the parents to set an appropriate example. If you want your child to grow up with an understanding of a greener lifestyle, you will need to make the switch and commit to it. Even simple acts such as recycling, turning lights off when you’re not in the room, and conserving water can have a lasting effect on how your child chooses to live their life as an adult.
- Get them involved: Not only should you be practicing what you preach, but you should find fun ways to get them involved in these everyday tasks. Make a game out of sorting the recycling or dedicate some quality time to plant a garden together and watch as it grows and provides food for the family.
- Volunteer together: A great way to get out of the house and help establish a real connection with the world is to volunteer together. Bring your kids to a park cleanup day, help them serve food at a shelter, or take them to the local ASPCA to care for the animals. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities that can help show young children the joy of helping others.
At our St. Johns preschool, we hold the belief that sustainability in childcare is important for the future of the community, environment, and our students. That’s why we instill various sustainability initiatives in our students from a young age. As Earth Day approaches, a day to educate and demonstrate support for environmental protection, it’s important to think of activities we can do with our children to help celebrate the earth. Here are a few ideas:
Plant a Fruit or Vegetable Garden
A lot of children love digging around in the dirt, so this is definitely an activity they can get excited about. Whether you plant in your own backyard or a rented garden plot, planting your child’s favorite fruits and veggies will help teach them how to nurture the environment. As an added bonus, fresh, homegrown fruits and veggies make a great snack!
Make a list of various things your child may find outside like sticks, rocks, leaves, pinecones, and things like plastic bottles or paper cups. Once they’ve collected everything on the scavenger hunt list, you can discuss the impact each of the items has on nature (pinecones carry seeds to help grow more trees, birds use sticks for their nests, etc.). For any paper or plastic items, discuss how these do not belong in nature and how they should be properly recycled to have a good impact on the earth.
If you don’t already have separate bins for recycling purposes, make some with your child and have them help in the sorting process. After you’ve collected and sorted a lot, together you can take the recyclables to machine for depositing bottles or cans. See how many items you can recycle, and let your child keep whatever money you get for them as a reward for her efforts.
Many young children put up a fuss when it comes time to eat, especially when it comes to eating healthy. This is partially because their taste buds haven’t yet developed and partially because there’s always something else they’d rather be eating or doing. Fortunately, it is possible to teach kids healthy eating habits from a young age that can go on to inform your children’s lives as they grow up.
Enroll Them in the Right Preschool
At Bartram Academy, we believe in eco-conscious sustainability in childcare. Since you won’t be the only adult in your young child’s life, you need to rely on babysitters and preschool centers to continue your work of encouraging healthy eating. You can rely on Bartram Academy and our instructors. In addition to serving healthy food, we offer a number of activities in our curriculum to encourage creativity and an interest in the natural world.
Make It Fun
- Take your child to a strawberry farm to pick fresh fruits together.
- Get your hands dirty in the garden together, like planting, watering, or harvesting.
- Ask your children to complete age-appropriate tasks to help with preparing and cooking a healthy meal.
- Encourage your children to get excited about activities that lead to healthy eating, and they’ll look forward to eating their fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and organic foods.
The younger they are, the more likely they are to find these activities enjoyable if you make them seem fun!
Limit or even eliminate sugary snacks from your entire family’s diet, not just your children’s. Shop at organic stores when possible and encourage your children to choose their own healthy snacks for the week.
Finding the right preschool can help your child get on the right track as well. Enroll your child in Bartram Academy, where healthy eating is just one of the many advantages we offer our students. We serve organic, all natural fresh or fresh-frozen food, which helps provide the energy and nutrition your child needs to get the most out of their education. It’s just one of the eco-friendly practices our Reggio Emilia-style preschool engages in to give children the best possible start in life.
Our dedication to the children in our early learning center includes ensuring they stay healthy inside and out. We’ve already discussed the benefits of the organic food we serve, but our focus on sustainability in childcare goes beyond the food we serve. This is why we don’t use any bleach or other harsh chemicals for our cleaning supplies, and utilize essential oils and other all-natural products instead. Some examples of the products we use and their purposes include:
This is diffused during nap time to promote calmness and sleep. This gentle oil is capable of being used without being diluted for purposes of relaxation, pain relief, enhanced blood circulation, digestion and more. Lavender oil is considered a “virtual first aid kit in a bottle” to many because of its numerous antibacterial properties.
Protective Blend of Oils
During flu season, we diffuse a blend oils to help cut down the spread of airborne germs. Many oils have immune-boosting and germ-fighting properties that can be vital during this time. Some of these oils include tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender, lemongrass, and sage.
Many store bought sprays and cleaners contain chemicals that can be toxic if not handled properly. We’ve integrated a cleaner into daily use that’s made with lemon and lemon grass oil to prevent the children being exposed to these dangerous toxins. Lemon grass is also beneficial because it naturally deodorizes, repels bugs, kills bacteria and fungi while also supporting boosting the immune system.
Learn more about our focus on sustainability in childcare by requesting a guided tour of our facility!