Environmental Sustainability Policy

CONTENTS

  1. Policy Statement
  2. Goals
  3. Strategies for Implementation
  4. Evaluation
  5. Legislation and Considerations
  6. Sources and Related Policies

  

  1. POLICY STATEMENT

As an education and care community, we can encourage and increase awareness of environmental responsibilities and implement practices that contribute to a sustainable future. Children can be supported to become environmentally responsible and show respect for the environment. Providing children with time and experiences in nature plays a key part in this, as we feel children need to ‘fall in love’ with nature before they will want to care for and look after it.  Environmentally sustainable practices and time in nature should be embedded into the operations of the education and care service and involve educators, children and families in order to be successful.

  1. GOALS

The education and care service will ensure the environment is safe, clean and well maintained. Children’s awareness, respect and love for the environment will be promoted through daily practices, resources and interactions. Sustainable practices will be encouraged within the education and care service. Educators, children and families will be encouraged to become advocates for a sustainable future.

  1. STRATEGIES FOR IMPLEMENTATION

The Approved Provider will:

  • Take reasonable steps to ensure that this policy is regularly reviewed, made available, implemented by the Nominated Supervisor, staff members, volunteers and students of Styles Street
  • Provide provision for training and professional development opportunities to Nominated Supervisor and educators in relation to environmental education and sustainability.
  • When purchasing new appliances, consideration is given to energy rating; preference will be given to choosing appliances with higher environmental performance.
  • Provide recycling bins in office, children’s areas, and outdoor playground to promote waste sorting and effective recycling techniques.
  • Hire cleaners and pest control companies that use environmentally friendly products and practices.
  • Review service lighting to incorporate energy efficient strategies.
  • Develop long term strategies for solar power installation.
  • Investigate grant/funding opportunities to support strategies for sustainability.
  • Ensure the service joins the NSW Early Childhood Environmental Education Network to liaise with other education and care services and keep up to date on practices and ideas for sustainability.
  • Encourage educators, families and children to engage in innovative practices and appreciate the wonder of the natural world while protecting the planet for future generations.

The Nominated Supervisor will:

  • The Nominated Supervisor will take reasonable steps to ensure that this policy is regularly reviewed, made available, implemented by the staff members, volunteers, students and cleaning staff of Styles Street.
  • Encourage staff, families, children, volunteers, students and visitors of Styles Street to foster environmental practices established within the service to promote sustainability responsibility.
  • Liaise with the Management Committee, families, cleaning staff and educators to promote ideas for implementing sustainable practices within the service.

Aim to make a service commitment to:

  • Recycle office items such as paper, ink cartridges, plastics, etc
  • Limit use of air conditioner and heating – switch off when not necessary.
  • Turn off lights and appliances when not in use.
  • Reuse and repair equipment as often as possible, where replacement can be avoided.
  • Research environmentally responsible alternatives for equipment and resources when purchases are required.
  • Investigate environmentally friendly biodegradable cleaning strategies with a goal to implementing in collaboration with cleaning staff.
  • Acknowledge and generate awareness of environmental days such as: National Tree Day, Clean Up Australia Day, Earth Hour, World Water Day, National Compost Awareness Week, etc
  • Promote water-wise practices to conserve water.
  • Use e-mail as a main form of written communication with parents, families and Management Committee.
  • Use both sides of paper when printing or photocopying.
  • Regularly share Environmental/Sustainability information in Director’s Report and Newsletter to generate interest and culture within the service.
  • Encourage and educate families about ways they can contribute to minimising waste and plastic packaging by packing environmentally sustainable lunchboxes e.g. limit convenience, pre-packaged foods by promoting nude food and reusable containers.
  • Encourage and support educators to integrate environmentally sustainable practices, resources and learning opportunities into children’s daily routine as a means of promoting and enhancing children’s knowledge, appreciation and respect for the environment.

Educators will:

  • Make sustainable practices a part of the daily routine. These include:
    • Recycling
    • Gardening
    • Energy conservation
    • Water conservation
    • Sustainable equipment purchases
  • Provide children with opportunities to spend time in nature, both in and out of the centre, to get to know, appreciate and/or ‘fall in love’ with that natural world.
  • Include recycling as part of everyday practice at the education and care service. Recycling containers will be provided throughout the service.
  • Role model sustainable practices.
  • Discuss sustainable practices with the children and families as part of the services education and care curriculum.
  • Provide information to families on sustainable practices that are implemented at the education and care service and encourage the application of these practices in the home environment.
  • Share ideas between educators, children and families about sustainable ideas, implementation and resources. This can be done at parent meetings, through emails, newsletters and conversations.
  • Use a worm farm or composting bin to reduce food waste in the education and care service. Children will be encouraged to place food scraps into separate containers for use in the worm farm or the composting bin. Educators will discuss with the children and families which scraps, worms can eat, and which foods can be composted. The children will be involved in maintaining the worm farm and compost.
  • Role model energy and water conservation practices of turning off lights and air-conditioning when a room is not in use, emptying water play containers onto garden areas.
  • Provide children with opportunities to grow food from seed to experience and learn about where their food comes from and how it grows.
  • Promote healthy eating and local food sources by preparing and cooking with the food that the children have grown in their garden, so they can observe the whole cycle from seed to plate.
  • Collaborate with children to investigate and research the benefits that rethinking and reducing has to the environment.
  • Incorporate natural and reusable materials into the children’s learning program. For         example, material off cuts, computers, phones, scrap paper, pine cones, seed pods, sand, empty bottles and containers, bark, rocks, leaves, etc.
  • Utilise Reverse Garbage facilities for resources and program ideas.
  • Use recycled or scrap paper for children’s drawing or art work, encourage children to use both sides of paper.
  • Provide natural play spaces for the children to explore and discover.
  • Ask parents to donate reusable items that can be used for children’s art, craft, construction and play.
  • Recycle water used for children’s play experiences onto the garden.
  • Support children to become water conscious and respectful of water usage – turn off the tap, flush toilet once, etc.
  • Integrate environmental learning in everyday practices to develop a culture for sustainability within the service. Aim to purchase equipment that is eco-friendly where possible. Educators will reduce the amount of plastic and disposable equipment they purchase and select materials that are made of natural materials and fibres.
  • Seek to embed sustainable practice in the education and care service. The concepts of “reduce, re-use and recycle” will become part of everyday practice for both children and educators to build lifelong attitudes towards sustainable practices.
  • Provide opportunities for children to learn about the biodiversity in their local community – identify native plants, arrange field trips, go bird watching, and connect to the land by understanding the indigenous history of the local community.
  • Understand our connectedness to nature by exploring human biology and how this relates and compares to survival needs of other living things such as plants and animals.
  • Use local Council and Government departments as sources of information on sustainable practices used in the local community. Educators will liaise with the Council and Government departments for possible grants available to put in place water and energy conservation practices in the education and care service. These may include water tanks, grey water systems, converting toilet cisterns to dual flush and converting to water saving taps.

Pest control staff will:

  • Minimise the use of toxic products and use environmentally friendly techniques/products as much as possible.

Cleaning staff will:

  • Use recycling bins to recycle waste to limit waste that goes to landfill, and to foster practices established within the service.
  • Use environmentally sustainable/biodegradable-cleaning techniques/products to minimise the use of toxic products.
  1. EVALUATION

The education and care environment reflect sustainable practices, ‘Green Cleaning’ and eco-friendly choices. Educators, children, families and the wider community will learn together and embrace environmentally friendly practices.

  1. LEGISLATION AND CONSIDERATIONS
  • Education and Care Services National Regulations
  • Guide to the National Quality Standard (3) ACECQA (2017)
  • Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
  • Energy Efficiency Opportunities Act 2006
  • Education and Care Services National Regulations:  Schedule 1
  • National Quality Standards/ Elements: 3.2.3, 6.1.1
  • The Early Years Learning Framework: Outcome 2.4
  1. SOURCES AND RELATED POLICIES
  • Community Early Learning Australia – www.cela.org.au
  • NSW Government Office of Environment and Heritage –   www.environment.nsw.gov.au
  • Department of the Environment and Energy – www.environment.gov.au ⊲ Early Childhood Environmental Education Network – www.eceen.org.au
  • Child Protection Policy
  • Curriculum Programming & Progress Policy
  • Interactions with Children Policy
  • Management of Accident, Illness and Health Policy
  • Safety Policy
  • Interactions with Children Policy
  • Providing a Child Safe Environment Policy

 

Policy adopted: 26 September 2018

Policy amended:

For review: September 2019

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