High Rise Heroes: Guardian Flinders St work with Cbus and CBRE to clean up their act
Children and educators from Guardian Childcare and Education Flinders Street have been working hard over the past several months to create an ‘anti-landfill’initative for the centre, pairing up with Cbus Property and CBRE to work collaboratively with the whole building, supporting office workers and other tenants to be more mindful with the way they dispose of their waste.
While the sustainability push began in much the same way as it does for many early childhood education and care (ECEC) services, with educators seeking to place sustainable thinking into the curriculum in order to meet the requirements of the National Quality Framework, and to embed more sustainable thinking, the program quickly evolved, Centre Manager Talia Lesiw said.
“We have a responsibility to offer experiences and embed practices that involve children directly in the sustainability process. A process that instills positive environmental values, a sense of community, and the idea that the children can be a part of something bigger than themselves.”
When they moved into the building, Talia and her team met with Cbus Property and CBRE and discovered a shared vision in terms of their environmental and sustainability goals.
“We were impressed by their existing framework for responsible waste management and their focus on recycling and gladly jumped on board as good tenants to be a part of things,” Talia shared.
“Childcare centres are big consumers of resources such as food, water, cardboard and hygiene products, so we were excited to implement waste separation practices that could ensure such resources were being distributed correctly,” she added.
The first step by the centre was to add colour coded waste bins – yellow for recyclable items, green for food items and other organics, and blue for general waste. Every room in the centre has three bins, decorated with signage made by the children, expressing what type of waste can go in each bin.
“The colour-coded bins were introduced in an intentional teaching session to the children, with their use and meaning carefully explained, along with the importance of our efforts and why we should be working together as a group to help out,” Talia said.
It soon became apparent, once the bins were introduced, that children needed more support to grasp what constituted things like paper, plastic and organic waste, which lead to the creation of the visual poster guides mounted behind the bins with pictures or real examples attached.
“We discuss topics like separating waste after meals, reusing cardboard and paper products, being mindful of our water use, and how we can contribute to sustaining life systems on the planet we inhabit. In short, we are mainstreaming education on the environment and practices that sustain it,” Talia said, describing the way in which sustainability is embedded in the curriculum.
“Our next big initiative is our Sustainability Champions program, which will see small groups of children, accompanied by an Educator, making regular visits to other floors within our building to collect and sort waste products like paper and coffee cups,” she added. “As with the original waste initiatives, this has been developed in conjunction with the support of Cbus Property & CBRE and should be kicking off in the near future.”
To read more about how to embed sustainability into the curriculum, please see here.