Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere: Preschoolers join in to Clean Up Australia

by Freya Lucas

March 01

Friday 1 March is an important day in the sustainability calendar, as children from early childhood education and care (ECEC) services around the country join in with the Youth Clean Up movement, as part of the broader Clean Up Australia Day initiative.

 

Initiatives such as Clean Up Australia Day form an important part of service obligations towards Quality Area Three of the National Quality Standards, with educators asked to provide a “rich and diverse range of experiences that promote children’s learning and development.”

 

Element 3.2.3 specifically guides educators to consider ways in which the service cares for the environment and supports children to become environmentally responsible.  

 

Organisers of the initiative said they hoped the event would inspire young Australians to learn about the impact of rubbish on their local environment while playing an active role in their community.

 

According to Clean Up Australia Managing Director, Terrie-Ann Johnson, it’s important to show children how to preserve and care for the environment so they can play a part in establishing a more sustainable and positive future.

 

“Clean Up Youth Days are a proactive way to demonstrate that lots of small actions, like picking up litter, can help reduce the pollution clogging our precious parks, bushland, waterways and oceans before it kills our wildlife,” Ms Johnson said.

 

Using the tag of “AWEsome” Ms Johnson said there were three key components underpinning the involvement of children and young people in the initiative:

 

A for Awareness – opening young people’s eyes to the scale of rubbish that is harming our wildlife

 

W for well-being – A Clean Up rewards participants as they see how keeping the environment healthy is part of leading a healthy life

 

E for empowerment – Children are empowered to take positive action to make their outdoor spaces the cleanest places they can be.

 

“We are fostering our environmental custodians of the future and teaching them that action is louder than words,” Ms Johnson said. “Our founder Ian Kiernan AO firmly believed that when it comes to young people, the future of our environment is in good hands. Opening their eyes starts with looking around them at the litter that is accumulating in the spaces they share. Once they understand it’s simply not going to go away unless they intervene, they are empowered to take that first action step.”

 

A range of resources are available online for educators to support this initiative in their community and service. In 2018 2,214 pre schools and primary schools registered to join in, representing a 24 per cent increase on the previous two years.

 

Online registrations are free and now open at www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au

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