Greening Up Our Pre-Schools

What if we used some of the time that children spend in pre-school to help them cultivate a love of their planet, their community and give them an understanding of the environment such that they could teach their parents something about environmental responsibility? At every preschool, it is up to the teachers to decide what subject matter they want to focus on, and children who are 3-6 years old will absorb anything as long as you can hold their attention, so why not use some of that time to set each child on a path to environmental understanding in a way that is fun.

There is nothing better for kids than a hands-on experience when it comes to learning. If you went to a school that had a garden, or took a horticulture class in middle school or high school, than you might have come away with an appreciation for making things grow. Pre-school could be a great opportunity to teach kids how to make things grow and take care of their environment at the same time.

Many pre-schools and early childhood education facilities have an area for a garden. Many of those same schools feed those same kids at least one meal a day. What if they fed them that meal on a biodegradable plate or lunch tray that was compostable, and used that material to provide the mulch for the garden?

There are many new products on the market that are compostable. Make sure that you purchase a biodegradable plate or other biodegradable container that is compostable and made from sugar cane or other renewable fiber. Once the kids finish their meals, they can compost those trays and containers in a compost bin or pile and learn how the product breaks down over time, and eventually returns back to the soil to nourish the plants.

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This gives children the opportunity to learn that plants, fruits and vegetables come from the ground and not the grocery store, they can see how the various seasons of the year have an effect on how things grow and they can begin to understand that by composting they not only have the ability to nourish what they grow, but they help the earth by placing their waste in a compost pile where it will do some good instead of in a landfill, where it will affect them and their community for many years to come. It doesn’t take acres to make a garden and it doesn’t require a bushel of seeds and tools to make something grow. It simply takes a little creativity and the joy of letting kids get their hands dirty to learn a great life affirming lesson.