Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
At Wilston Kids Care you may have noticed a change over the past few months. Huge collections of cardboard boxes, creations made from wood offcuts, and even seed pods and pine cones scattered throughout the centre have become commonplace. After much discussion, training and centre visits, we’ve been exploring the benefits of recycled, found and natural materials and loose parts play for the kids at our centre.
The My Time, Our Place framework for School Age Care in Australia requires that we facilitate learning about sustainable practices and help the children to “become socially responsible and show respect for the environment”. As a centre it is our responsibility to be aware of how our actions affect the kids in our care in both the present and the future. This means that we need to not only teach the children about how to care for the environment, but also lead by example and take it upon ourselves to examine our own processes.
There has been a considered effort to reduce the amount of one-use craft materials in the centre, leading to less waste, and better outcomes for our kids. These small and seemingly insignificant plastics can have a huge impact on our environment. They are highly processed and often take huge amounts of water and power to produce and transport, they will not break down when they are disposed of, and they also wreak havoc with our precious local wildlife.
As an alternative, in preparation for the December/January Vacation Care period, our team have been busily acquiring unconventional materials from a range of sources. One of our favourite local Brisbane businesses, Reverse Garbage, provides us with plenty of opportunities for recycled materials which have no designated purpose, and allow the children to explore freely. Reverse Garbage is a not-for-profit worker run co-operative, who supply us with industrial discards, diverting them from landfill. Some of you may also remember their “Critters From Creek To Coast” workshop from our previous vacation care program, which was a big hit with the kids. Through education and creativity they hope to promote environmental sustainability and resource reuse, and we are fortunate to work with community organisations such as these that have similar goals to us.
We hope that by challenging our kids to reuse, repurpose and recycle objects and materials destined for landfill, we teach them to think critically about their own waste while simultaneously reducing our own impact on the environment. It also happens to be a lot of fun!
If you'd like to learn more about Reverse Garbage you can find their website here.