Dubbo ECEC service in line for excellence in sustainability award
Regland Park Early Childhood Education Centre, located in Dubbo, a regional town in New South Wales, is in line for an award from the Western NSW Regional Business Awards in recognition for their significant efforts to meaningfully embed sustainable practices within their centre, local news source The Daily Liberal has reported.
Some of the moves undertaken by the centre to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability include:
- “Slashing” paper consumption by moving to digital record keeping wherever possible
- Growing vegetables to feed the children, and to share with the community
- Growing a “bush tucker” garden with plants native to the local area
- A “plant to plate” program, which incorporates vegetable patches and fruit trees grown on site
- Using vegetable and food scraps generated on site to add to a worm farm and compost patch
- Reducing the amount of chemicals used in the centre, introducing essential oils and micro-fibre cloths for cleaning
The centre has previously been recognised for their sustainability efforts, winning the 2018 Dubbo Chamber of Commerce Gold Rhino Award, and the Silver Rhino for Excellence in Sustainability, but centre director, Justine Richards, told The Daily Liberal that the team were not resting on their laurels, “still looking at ways to constantly improve in our sustainability”
The key to making real change, Ms Richards said, when asked what advice she would give to other early childhood education and care (ECEC) services and businesses seeking to improve their sustainable practices, was to ensure that learning was embedded, with a view to creating lasting change.
“If we’re teaching children about sustainability, then we’re creating lifelong skills that they’re going to grow up with, and they’re going to be more aware of their impact on the environment,” Ms Richards said.
It was important to not opt out by becoming overwhelmed, she noted, saying “I think sometimes it can be quite overwhelming to go ‘where do we start’, and I think it’s important to just start with one small step, and really embed that in your service or your business.”
“And just that one small change, how much it can make a difference, and then when you’ve done that and everybody’s on board with that, then you start another small step and another small step.”
From little things, big things grow.