We are very pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 SPRouts award. SDN Owl’s House wins $1000 to put towards their continued environmental sustainability program. There were ten excellent applicants.
Below is part of the SDN Owl’s house application:
All changes start from small actions. We embed the principles of Education for Sustainability through the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle initiative, the examples include but not limited to:
• Owl’s Market, as a part of our waste management, encourages children and families to collect and sell used clothes/toys/books at a reasonable price so they can be reused instead.
• Children developed Owl’s Library and designed a library tag system as maintenance. It helps reduce families’ expenditure in book purchasing and builds a bridge between home and the service through an early literacy experience.
• We cut down wastage through loose part play while promoting open-ended play. The Recycle Art Corner is designed to collect recycled materials (boxes, catalogues, fabrics, bottle lids, natural materials) for creative art making. Plastic bottles and containers are collected by all stakeholders to be reused in dramatic play to build on the children’s emerging knowledge of sustainable practices.
• We reviewed the existing outdoor/indoor environments and identified the need to add more natural elements. Our children developed vegetable gardens to share responsibilities. They collect fruit and vegetable scraps for our worm farm. We also teach children the importance of saving water and using the water from our rainwater tank for watering plants and outdoor water play.
Reflective practice, as a part of our service’s philosophy, plays a significant role in our sustainability program.
• OneNote is used as a reflection tool for the team to share knowledge about sustainability. We believe holistic thinking is vital in identifying the current challenges in sustainability and encouraging people to explore the solutions creatively.
• Children are encouraged to think about how to reuse items to reduce landfills. We demonstrated how to reuse cardboard to make costumes/signs and reuse dried-out markers as watercolour substitutes by soaking the tips in jars of water. Children become aware that items can be
repaired and reused. We also purchase less by reusing the existing plastic resources until the end of their life.
• We listen to and value children’s voices through daily conversations. For example, children discussed how human waste impacts ocean life. A parent invited our children to the UNSW Environmental Lab to explore further. During Children’s Week 2022, children raised awareness through collective artwork that all children today and in the future should all deserve their right to quality of life.
We have also developed partnerships with external communities to promote Education for Sustainability.
• We registered as a Community Collection Hub in partnership with TerraCycle in 2021, to invite more local people to help collect writing instruments, cleaning products containers, and dental care products. This project was also shared on UNSW campus during “Early Learning Matters Week 2022”.
• Ongoing relationships with the local Bunning’s Warehouse and a flower shop support our natural environments through donations and incursions. Children are encouraged to think about how to reduce landfills.
• We had a sustainability campaign on the UNSW campus to celebrate Earth Day 2022. Children and families prepared and shared hand-made paper, sealed glitter jars and recycled poster during the excursion.Congratulations to all nominees. The applications were all outstanding.