Culture of Sustainability
In our minds nature and sustainability go hand in hand.
We see sustainability as a key learning priority.
The physical design of our services are built with sustainability in mind and are complimented with resources and furniture, and every day practices and conversations, that show this is a valuable part of our culture here.
Our educational team, families and children are very experienced earth warriors when it comes to environmentally responsible practices.
Actively recycling rubbish and food scraps from our lunch boxes (for composting, worm farms or for our chickens, soft plastic and waste redistribution), turning off power when not needed, and treating water as a precious resource all help to form positive attitudes about sustainable practices EVERYDAY.
Preloved, repurposed and upcycled furniture
When you walk through our play spaces you will notice we have sourced a lot of our furniture from second hand stores, op shops, ebay and gumtree repurposing items and giving them renewed life.
Building design and Outdoor Play space design
The design of our services is influenced not only by our image of the child, our philosophy, and commitment to nature, but also for its impact on the environment. Natural light filters through our rooms to eliminate the need to turn on lights, louvers from the halls through to the other side of our buildings encourages cross ventilation and fresh air to filter through all our play space.
Water tanks supply water to the laundry, toilets and labelled outdoor taps. With the installation of the mud kitchen a water tank was included to supply water from the rain.
Paths and steppers throughout our outdoor environments have been made from recycled wood from railway tracks or left over supplies from building sites.
The fallen tree branch in our Innovation Parkway outdoor play space was sourced from our landscape gardener, Keagan, who tells us was struck by lightning 10 years ago. We transferred it to our Innovation Parkway Green Beginnings and it has been in our sandpit climbed upon, jumped off and loved for many years.
Our design also gives thought to biodiversity. We considered the water requirements of plants we chose to place in our environment and their ability to provide habitat for native birds, bees and butterflies. Additionally, we planted edible plants (passionfruit vines over our arbours) as a bonus of which children can enjoy at Green Beginnings, or take home to share with their family.
Recycled, nature inspired resources and loose parts
Loose parts mostly come from recycled materials from home, work or as a gift from nature. Loose parts find a new purpose in our environment (sustainability), and offer limitless opportunities in the way that they can be used. Loose parts provide rich opportunities for learning in our children's day by allowing them to become scientists, engineers, inventors, artists, explorers and clever investigators as they work with these materials. Loose parts can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up, and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways. The more materials and individuals involved, the more ingenuity takes place. The idea of loose parts uses materials to empower a creative imagination.
Compost, worm farms, chickens and recycling Each of our rooms has designated bins for sorting waste. Including reuse for our worm farms, compost bin, soft plastics, general waste, green waste and yellow recycling bins.
Children are involved in classification of the unwanted waste from their lunch and play.
Children, together with Educators and families, are then involved in redistributing this waste so that it is turned into resource.
Vegetable gardens offer so many opportunities for learning and joy. Growing a garden is practice way to promote a sustainable future but their presence goes so much deeper than that. Our gardens support the people within our play spaces on so many levels. Physical - digging, turning over the soil, planting and transporting soil using a wheelbarrow. Emotional and Soulful - stress relief, fresh air, smells and taste.
Social - talking with mates and educators about plants or recipes or favourite foods. Health and Well-Being often growing their own food encourages children to experiment with new tastes and eat more healthily. Building Knowledge - being a part of the life cycle of a plant, fruit, or vegetable helps children to embrace a greater appreciation and understanding of the process of garden to plate.
Our inquiries, play and curriculum
Sustainable feelings and thoughts are certainly going to be part of children's wonderings about the earth as they grow older. Whilst our educational team will from time to time "plant a seed" for discussions about sustainable practices, most of the ideas for change or justice come from the children, and are often sparked by what they are hearing and seeing in their world at that time. We use these magical moments to grow each others knowledge, and listen to the to the thoughts and ideas of others. Children can use their voice to bring about change and make a valuable contribution to our environment and community.
Sustainability comes in many different forms and “freecyling” in something we have also adopted. Our community-swap shop - located near each of our services reception- offers items such as clothing, shoes, books, toys and knickknacks which are no longer needed by other families or our staff and gifted to those who do need them. Some of our families have brought in excess produce from their gardens at home to share with our community here. This is a great way to keep usable things out of landfill. If something catches a visitor to our services eye we invite them to take it and enjoy. You never know what treasures you will find.
Social justice, kindness and peace and mindfulness
We practice mindfulness throughout all our Green Beginnings services. We believe in its power to encourage people to be aware of their own feelings and how this affects their reactions to certain situations where they may feel angry or sad, or anxious. Through mindfulness and yoga children in our play spaces are shown to accept these feelings, take some slow breaths and manage these feelings in a constructive way.
Mindfulness is good for children's bodies, good for children's minds. It changes children's brains, helps children focus and learn, enhances relationships, and fosters compassion and altruism.
Our service is inspired by the African proverb that says…
“The world is not left to us by our parents; it is lent to us by our children.”
Our philosophy is not only based on children building relationships with those around them, but building a relationship with the EARTH as well. We aim to equip children with the attitudes, values, knowledge and skills necessary to rethink and change current patterns of action with regards not only to recycling and composting but to social justice and ecological responsibility for the future.