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10 Ways your Setting can Help Save the Planet
[19/07/2021]

Blog – How your Setting can Help Save the Planet

Over the Summer months we see lots of environmental awareness days to remind us to think about how our lifestyles impact the environment and what we must do to fight climate change. From World Environment and World Ocean Days in June, Plastic Free July to Cycle to Work Day in August, there are plenty of opportunities to reflect. What does your Setting do to encourage and promote environmental awareness? 

It’s highly likely that the children attending your Setting are aware of climate change, either learning through school or watching the news at home. Even younger children will have an idea – they are probably familiar with household recycling and the reminders to always put litter in a bin. As Playworkers and role models, you can play a vital part in helping children to understand how their actions affect the environment. The simplest way to do this is to lead by example. Children are more likely to follow suit if they see you leading the way.

Start small - introduce recycling bins and reuse materials too good for the bin, remind children of the importance to turn lights and taps off and encourage children to appreciate the outdoors whilst talking to them about nature. Embed those key messages so they become second nature to the children, not only within your setting but when they are at home and school too.  If you are already doing these things at your Setting, what else can you do and what could be the next step your Setting takes to help the environment?

Here are 10 ways your Setting can be environmentally friendly and help save the planet:

 

10 Ways your Setting can Help Save the Planet

  1. Embrace the outdoors - Encourage children to love nature. The more they learn to love and appreciate the outdoors, the more they will care for it in the future.  There are so many things you can do outdoors that teach children about the environment – foraging, geo caching, litter picking, gardening and nature trails. You can find more ideas in our Nature Zone pack https://www.clybiauplantcymru.org/members-area.asp
  2. Talk to the children about climate change and the environment and why we have to work hard to make a difference but all the little changes we make can really add up. Explore the issues and talk about how they can help. Tell them how they can make a difference, individually and as a collective. Some children may find the topic frightening or confusing so ensure you keep discussions age appropriate. It’s also important to ensure the children know that positive things are happening and all of their little changes will make a big difference in years to come.
  3. Make little changes when gardening - With so many of us seeing the benefits of gardening for both adults and children, it is important to consider the materials we use and what changes we can make to swap them and be more environmentally friendly. Try growing seedlings in egg shells or toilet rolls instead of plastic trays or reuse materials we would normally throw away, rather than buying new. Go peat-free or make your own compost to create soil improver. Our Peatlands are the world’s greatest store of carbon on land and when peat is extracted to be used in our gardens we damage habitats and allow dangerous carbon emissions to be released.  Going peat-free will help the fight against climate change. Our Tesco Grow Your Own Feast project has a host of activity cards to help you get started including how to make your own compost! https://www.clybiauplantcymru.org/members-area.asp
  4. Recycle or reuse – We all know how important it is to recycle. Make it easier for children and staff by using separate bins for different materials and clearly label what goes in which bin. Use pictures as well as words to ensure all children will understand. Keep anything worth reusing. Children love nothing more than a pile of loose parts to create something new and spectacular! Keep a separate bin for items worth saving – you’ll be amazed how quickly it will fill up!
  5. Go paperless - look at where you can reduce paper? Do you encourage children to use both sides of the paper when drawing? Could you use email to communicate with parents instead of a printed newsletter or flier? Social media can be a great way to share information with parents without the need for printing. Look at how much paper your setting uses and look to make one change to reduce the amount of paper you use. Find our template ‘Cloud Policy’ in Stepping Out on the members area of our website.
  6. Snack time – What changes can your Setting make to snack time? If you provide food, consider using seasonal, local products that reduce the carbon footprint and providing meat free snacks or meals for one day a week or for one week each month. Chat with the children about the snack menu and ask what snacks they could have which doesn’t include meat. Or try going plastic free for July and ask parents to provide snacks that do not come in plastic packaging. You could even collect all the plastic that comes in to show the children how much plastic they use just from snacks in one day?
  7. Save water and electricity – how often do children leave taps running? Try using an egg timer so children can time how long they wash their hands for and as a reminder to turn the taps off when they are done. Display child friendly signs to remind children to turn lights off when a room isn’t in use.
  8. Superheroes - Consider nominating a child each week to be your Setting’s ‘Save our Planet Superhero’ to help keep things in check – check lights are off when not in use, check taps are turned off and keep an eye on recycling. You never know, you may have the next Greta Thunberg in your care!
  9. Use your local library - Always buying new books for your Club? Ask your library if they could offer a selection of books to be collected or delivered on a regular basis. If your club is close to a library, arrange a regular visit for the children to save you buying more books. Ask parents to donate any books they no longer need at home. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for books that help to teach about the environment too!
  10. Shop local or grow your own - Are there any local grocery shops you may be able to support? Do you have space to grow your own fruit and vegetables? Even the smallest Setting could find one way to grow fruit or vegetables and our Grow Your Own Feast Tesco helps you to do this with our ‘Square Foot Garden’ resource card – perfect for small spaces! https://www.clybiauplantcymru.org/members-area.asp

 

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