It’s no secret that one in six of the world’s species are facing extinction, the oceans continue to fill with plastic and more greenhouse gases than ever are floating around in our atmosphere.
Although you might be wondering how this relates to your work with our early year’s children, I’m sure you agree that it’s important to demonstrate to them as early as possible how to take care of our planet. Afterall, these little ones will shape the future!
We understand you can’t single-handedly change the world overnight, but we can all do a little bit each day to make our environment more eco-friendly - and why not start with 5 things for you to consider within your nursery?
Do you bring your lunch to work every day in cling film or single-use plastic food bags that you throw in the rubbish once you’ve eaten? And how about your water bottle – is it plastic?
If you’re guilty of any of the above, then don’t worry – we have some alternatives to help you set a great example to the little ones. You could use old cereal bags to put your lunch in, paper bags, or even a bag for life. As for your drinks, treat yourself to a nice reusable non-plastic bottle that you’ll use all year round.
As for the children’s food, have a look to see if it’s locally sourced. Food transportation is expensive and pollutes the air so why not save money and save the planet? Two birds, one stone!
Cutlery is something to consider as well. Of course, we don’t want plates being smashed all over your nursery but try and avoid using single-use plastic dishes and AVOID plastic straws – paper ones work just as well.
2. Arts and Craft
Glitter. Glitter everywhere. As lovely as it looks, it’s not the best arts and crafts material to be sprinkling everywhere when attempting to save the Earth. Those tiny little particles of plastic are constantly making their way down our drains and into our seas - reaching the insides of our marine life. Glitter takes hundreds of years to decompose and although we love it – the dolphins don’t! But there’s no need to stop the sparkle because biodegradable glitter is now a thing and it’s a lot softer (no harsh plastic). In fact, you can purchase it here from Hope Education.
Wooden toys are often just as good as plastic ones, and with many of us realising the dangers that certain plastics can cause, we at Hope Education have spent a lot of time creating a wider range of wooden toys which are just as fun to play with and learn from. You may also find wooden toys last a lot longer, you can decorate them easily, and they’re safe.
Looking after the environment seems pointless if we never get to enjoy it or see the benefits, so go outdoors as much as possible and play with the nature around you! Make a pathway out of twigs or paint them, collect leaves and create a picture for mum and dad, or build a pebble tower. The children will have just as much fun, get plenty of fresh air and probably be fast asleep after lunch (bonus!).
Paper! It seems obvious but whilst you’re often too busy taking care of the children, recycling your paper sometimes gets forgotten about. Also, when it gets to Christmas time and you’re dreaming about glossy new wrapping paper…Stop. And think about the planet. Get the little ones involved and let them decorate some recycled paper instead (with biodegradable glitter of course).
Pens, pencils, rubbers, staples and all your other one million stationery items don’t need to be kept in plastic tubs and draws - get creative! Decorate some old toilet rolls and stand your pencils up in them. Get some little cardboard boxes for the rest and label them so they look nice and organised. You’ll feel much better and so will Earth when you save it.
5. Recycling bins
We know how exciting recycling bins are, but why not make them exciting for the children too? It might be a good idea to get some little coloured bins so that they can join in. You can make it fun as well - come up with a little song to sing or create an incentive to recycle, for example, a little prize or a well-done sticker. Plus, it helps you tidy up too!
So, before you go off and transform your nursery into the perfect example of sustainability and eco-friendliness, we’ve got a list of TOP TIPS for you to remember:
- Set an example – you are the one the children look up to, so before teaching them how to become perfect little humans, make sure you’re doing the best you can to be a good example when it comes to sustainable living.
- Buy in bulk – this one is easy, and a great way to cut down on waste packaging. Ordering your arts and crafts, stationery, toys and books in bulk will save plastic, waste time and money. Plus, if you make bigger, less frequent orders, that’s less delivery trucks on the road.
- Plan and make conscious purchases – you can’t buy in bulk if you don’t know what you need, so planning is essential. It’s also important to think before you purchase. Perhaps whatever it is you need has a wooden or biodegradable alternative – so think ahead!
- Go outdoors more – make the most of the beautiful world we live in and get some fresh air into your lungs. The children love it and we have such a great collection of play activities and furniture to enhance outdoor play times! You can shop the range here.
- Teach them why we do these things – getting the little ones to recycle and use Bioglitter is amazing! But why not try and educate them in a child-friendly way as to why we do these things? Children tend to have a closer affinity to animals, so explaining that plastic bottles go in the brown bin because “it helps to take care of the fishes” is a great starting point.
Take a look at our full range of sustainable resources.
We at Hope Education have reduced our carbon footprint by 46% to ensure we practice what we preach. Following feedback from our customers, we undertook a project to understand how we could reduce our packaging and be less wasteful. We now place all your orders in a bespoke sized box, meaning we can fit more in our delivery trucks and therefore travel 20,000 less miles per year!