Fostering Environmental Awareness in Early Childhood

Clean Up Australia Day is an annual event that brings communities together to clean up their local environment. In 2023, Clean Up Australia Day is taking place on Sunday 5 March, however there is also a Clean Up Schools Day for educators to join in on Friday 3 March, 2023. 

Anytime is a great opportunity for early childhood education services to involve children in learning about sustainability and caring for the planet, so why not be inspired by Clean Up Australia Day? Now is a good time for early childhood education services to start planning our clean-up efforts and promoting sustainability practices.

If you need some guidance getting started, these tips can assist early childhood education services in getting on board with Clean Up Australia Day, starting with your own service or local area. It’s all about being more sustainable and supporting children in learning how to care for the planet all the while.

Plan ahead

Before the big day, it’s important to plan ahead. Decide on a suitable date for the clean-up (maybe it’s joining in for one of the Clean Up Australia Days, or maybe a different date is preferable). You’ll also need to prepare the necessary equipment such as gloves, garbage bags (compostable for garden clean ups), and any other safety gear. 

Discuss the importance of the clean-up with children and involve them in the planning process. This will help them to understand why it is important to care for the environment and to take ownership of the project.

Conduct an environmental audit 

Conduct an environmental audit of your service to identify areas where you can make improvements. This can include energy usage, water consumption, waste management, and the use of environmentally friendly products. Use the audit as an opportunity to involve the children in learning about the impact that human activities have on the environment and to encourage them to think about ways to reduce their own environmental footprint.

For example, water is a precious resource, and it’s important to be mindful of how much we use. Suggest children turn off the tap while brushing their teeth and use a bucket to collect water while waiting for the shower to warm up. Teach children about the water cycle and the importance of conserving water.

Plant a garden 

Planting a garden is a great way to support children in connecting with nature and learning about the importance of biodiversity. Involve children in the planning and planting process and use it as an opportunity to teach them about the different types of plants and how they grow. Maybe you can even choose plants that can grow into something delicious to eat!

Reduce, reuse, and recycle 

Educators, children and families should be reminded to reduce, reuse, and recycle in their daily activities. Provide recycling bins and compost bins in the service and explain to the children what items can be recycled or composted. Encourage them to bring in their own reusable water bottles and lunch containers to reduce waste.

To help you explore and teach children the basic concepts about reducing, reusing and recycling, we’ve created a complete printable resources pack. Together with original song ‘Bonkers Rap’, the pack covers crucial areas of curriculum, including sustainability, environmental studies, sorting, maths, literacy, wellbeing, improvisation, creativity and music development.

To access the resources, click HERE.

Let’s clean up and raise environmental awareness together

Clean Up Australia Day is a great opportunity for early childhood education services to involve children in learning about sustainability and caring for the planet. 

By putting these tips into place, we can ensure our early childhood education services are part of creating a cleaner, greener future for our planet.

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