Why are we increasing our green activities?
Cygnets is now working with our children to introduce them to a more sustainable world and is becoming more eco-friendly in the process. Wooden furniture, wooden toys and real knives and forks at meal times mean new learning opportunities for children. A child's imagination is a magical place so a box can be a spaceship or a den and a stick can be a magic wand or a cricket bat. This expands a child's creativity and provides many more options for play. In making our nursery a greener setting we are teaching the children by example. Over time there will be many steps we plan to take to improve as a nursery. In the short to medium term this means becoming a plastic free environment as much as possible.
How does plastic free help children's learning?
There are many different reasons why a nursery will choose to go plastic free. Single use plastics in particular cause a lot of harm and many organizations in society are now making more conscious decisions about the future of our planet. We are no exception. Single use items can restrict a child's thinking and learning. By replacing plastic throughout our nursery, we can stimulate the children's imaginative play and their creativity. For example, it is more interesting to use real cooking utensils within the home corner than toy plastic items.
What has Cygnets done so far?
Introducing an eco-philosophy throughout our nursery will take a long time but we are fully committed to this. Cygnets has recently purchased additional wooden lego and wooden building blocks and other toys for children and these are already proving very popular. We are replacing the toy items in the home corner with the real thing, including vintage scales, real cooking utensils and even an old-fashioned phone. It has been amazing watching the children learn how to dial numbers on it! We are changing to glass milk bottles by Christmas, are using green materials like bamboo, biodegradable glitter and natural soap bars instead of soap in plastic bottles. We will finish installing energy efficient LED light bulbs throughout the nursery by Christmas.
We discuss with the children the reasons why we are introducing these sustainable items. The natural materials must always be safe and suitable for the age of the children. We will be posting regular updates about our eco progress on this web page and in our blog so parents/carers can see how we are doing.
What can parents/carers do?
We want to keep a steady flow of eco materials coming in and often attend second hand shops and car boot sales to find the latest bargains. Our hope is that our parents/carers will be able to support these activities at home as much as possible. Simple steps parents/carers can take include minimising or completely removing the use of plastic, such as plastic toys, thinking about a wooden toy or suitable alternative option for Christmas and birthdays, and donating the ‘real items' we want to introduce, such as tea sets and wicker boxes of all shapes and sizes plus others.
The children are learning to respect the natural world. Our reduction of plastic has concentrated our minds on everything we buy for the children so that we use resources in multiple ways and recycle. Looking ahead to the big event coming up in December let us hope Santa and his elves are thinking green with the amazing choice of wooden alternatives available!