Sustainability is an important element of the philosophy at Choklits as we feel strongly about protecting our environment and reducing our impact on earth. We use natural materials and colours to help create our learning environments, which includes one of the biggest play areas in Melbourne.
The aim is to provide children with the knowledge and skills to become environmentally responsible. Research shows that the earlier Children are given the opportunity to learn about and connect with the environment, the more likely they are to carry those skills forward and be environmentally responsible as adults.
What Is Sustainability?Sustainability is the quality and practice of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, therefore supporting long-term ecological balance.
Sustainable EducationAs educators, we have the responsibility to make sustainable education a part of our everyday practices, rather than a topic or theme to consider for a short time. Educators and children work together to learn about the environment and promote sustainable use of resources and to develop and implement sustainable practices. At Choklits these include waste management programs, growing our own produce and using our oversized play areas for learning about nature.
Plant to plateWe are very proud of our Plant to Plate program we started as a trial in early 2017. In all areas of our curriculum, we have found that the more children get to participate and be involved, the more likely they are to be interested in learning. We wanted to apply that knowledge to our food education as it’s an area many children find challenging. What began with a few children planting some herbs in a small vegetable patch has grown into two large vegetable gardens that the children have planted themselves. As our early learners planted and cared for their own food, they quickly developed a deeper understanding of food cycles, appreciated food more and were more willing to try new things. Plant to Plate has now grown further. Not only do the children plant some of the herbs, fruits and vegetables they eat here at Choklits, the program also includes the harvesting and preparation of the food they eat too. Our Chef Helen loves having the helping hands and mealtime discussions often include the journey the children’s crops have made from our gardens to the plates the eat off.
Waste ManagementOne of the key components of waste management is to reduce the amount of waste that needs to be managed in the first place. This begins in the planning stages to ensure that not only are centre supplies purchased in the correct amounts, but that they come in packaging that can be used within the curriculum, are made locally and are repairable. For example, we recently updated many of our room resources and the cardboard packaging was used by the toddlers to help them build their own mobile homes. We recycle all of our paper products at Choklits, collect plastic bags and send all of the waste from our parents and visitors coffee machine directly to specialised recycling centres. Families are often asked to bring recycled materials from home for centre projects and we encourage the continuation of our sustainability curriculum at home. Choklits has a worm farm, which is maintained by our children. The educators discuss how different foods are recycled and we give all appropriate food scraps to our worms which reduces our outgoing waste.
Cleaning is green at Choklits!
As many cleaning products contain toxic chemicals which can do harm to the environment and can cause health problems, we use alternatives which are biodegradable, certified as green and environmentally friendly where possible.
Many health experts now recommend against the overuse of anti-bacterial products including wipes and suggest that warm soapy water is the most effective way of removing dirt, food grease and bacteria from most surfaces. We follow these recommendations where possible without compromising health and safety.
Water And EnergyEnergy and water conservation are built into Choklits policies and practices. These include:
We believe in setting the example for our children and the wider community. To save paper, we communicate electronically at Choklits. Our menus and other centre information is all published at choklits.com.au.
We encourage staff and parents to be actively involved in the monthly review of each of our policies and procedures. Choklits accommodates any new legislative changes as they occur and any issues identified as part our commitment to quality improvement. In addition, we consult with relevant recognised authorities as part of the annual review to ensure the policy contents are consistent with current research and contemporary views on best practice.