What would a plastic-free ECEC setting look like? SNAP wants to show you
At a time when sustainability concerns are increasingly front of mind for early childhood education and care (ECEC) services, one centre, in the UK, has launched a free online platform, designed to support other ECEC settings to become more sustainable.
Young Friends Nursery and Nature School, in Hove, is sharing its sustainability journey in the hopes of encouraging others in the UK, and around the world, to consciously consider the way in which plastic is brought into, and used, in the program, showing the range of alternatives available.
Young Friends has ditched the disposable nappies, don’t provide tissues for children to use, and don’t use paper hand towels either. These are just some of the ideas that Sustainable Nurseries Against Plastic (SNAP) group has come up with when considering how to operate more sustainably.
While the SNAP platform is developed, a Facebook group has been established, where educators share ideas and pictures of the variety of ways they are making lasting environmental change.
In recognition of their efforts, Young Friends has achieved the Eco-Schools Green Flag award and offers a large outdoor classroom, regular beach cleans and a plastic-free ethos as part of its nature-based curriculum.
Founder of the SNAP initiative, Louise Lloyd-Evans told UK publication Nursery World that SNAP was “born from a passion to change and provide a better world for our children. In today’s climate we have a duty to educate young people, staff and owners from day one so it becomes a natural responsibility.”
She said she was “disturbed” by the lack of care and respect afforded to the environment which is especially “terrible” in ECEC settings.
“Glitter, wet wipes, nappy sacks, disposable nappies, balloons, the list is endless. People are scared by change so we started to make them one by one and teach the children why we were doing so,” Ms Lloyd-Evans said.
She hopes that SNAP will provide a space for “ground level” discussion with and for those working in ECEC, about how sustainability problems can be changed, improved, identified, shared and overcome.
“I’m realistic,” she told Nursery World. “I don’t expect everyone to become an eco-school but we really ought to be doing the basics, SNAP can teach other nurseries to do this in a cost effective and user-friendly way.”