Sustainability tips from OSHC coordinator Amy Quye
As the weather warms up around the country, and as children in New South Wales and Victoria return to outside school hours care (OSHC) services, Chisholm Primary School Catholic Out of School Hours Care (COSHC) Coordinator Amy Quye has shared her tips about empowering ways for children to make a positive difference to their environment.
“These days it’s impossible to turn on the television and not see stories about global warming and the negative impact on the environment,” Ms Quye said.
“Our children are seeing these stories too and some are becoming anxious about what that means for them and how they can engage with environmental sustainability.”
Allowing children the opportunity to be involved in sustainability actions can give them a sense of active hope, and can empower them to participate in measures to increase their knowledge and participation in sustainability actions.
“It seems that many children don’t get to talk about these issues at home and so most of what they’re learning about the environment and sustainability is either with us (OSHC) or at school,” she said.
“We encourage parents to start conversations at home on respecting and caring for the environment, because that is the future”.
There are, she continued, many things that can be done to help children get excited about the environment and give them agency in environmental sustainability.
“At the COSHC we have a range of activities. Among other things we recycle bottles and swap them for money at the Return and Earn station, we collect bread tags for Bread Tags for Wheelchairs, we have a recycled materials area for play and leisure – where the children use materials such as boxes to create tracks and box forts in creative play.”
“Additionally, we compost at the centre and we also propagate plants. We’ve shown children how they can grow beans in ziplock bags on our windowsills, transferred them to recycled bottles as they’ve grown and finally sent the plants home for the children to put in their own gardens.”
Prior to starting in her current position, Ms Quye was the COSHC Coordinator at St Finbars, Glenbrook for four years. During that time, by consistently implementing sustainability projects, she saw a real change in the children.
“We saw a transformation in the children, where they became more engaged and curious. They wanted to participate, suggested activities, and planted veggies. Over time, the children took ownership of those activities.”
For those OSHC services looking to get children more involved with the environment, and focused on sustainability, she offers the following tips:
- Turn off your devices and get outside with your kids. Get in the garden, take a walk and make it fun for the children to engage with nature
- Gather all your bottles and take them to a recycling centre such as Return and Earn, in exchange your children could choose how to spend the money returned
- Work as a team to reduce waste. Brainstorm a list of ways you can reduce waste by using less paper, recycling and composting and work together to achieve that goal.
“You don’t need a large space to garden. You can propagate succulents on a balcony or grow beans with just a seed, a ziplock bag and a paper towel,” she said in closing.
For more sustainability tips, please see here.
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