Team delivers winning centre philosophy
When the team at Goodstart Mangerton, NSW, decided to focus on reducing waste and recycling in their centre, they began a journey which would see them dramatically decrease their footprint on the world around them.
Rather than introducing one or two new sustainability practices, the team decided to seek ways to engage the community help deliver the centre philosophy:
“By valuing our relationships and partnerships with families, engaging our local community and actively promoting respect for our environment, we encourage children to be connected with, contribute to and have respect for their world.”
And their hard work in the area has resulted in the team winning the Sustainability Award in the 2018 Goodies Awards.
The Goodies recognise excellence in Goodstart centres and showcase the best practice and commitment to delivering high quality educator. There were 19 national winners this year, and more than 700 nominations submitted.
From saving water and energy, reducing, reusing and recycling, planting and caring for gardens, and ensuring sun safe practices, the whole centre approach is a success.
In her nomination, centre director Fiona Veld said she wanted to seek ways to engage the community to help deliver the centre philosophy.
“We embarked on a most exciting and rewarding journey to sustainable practices and education,” Ms Veld said.
Starting with a commitment to exploring loose parts and repurposing resources and recyclable materials, the team connected with Reverse Garbage. They then began a clothes and book swap, along with sharing left over meals with families.
They joined the Early Childhood Environmental Education Network and applied for, and won, an ECO SMART grant to support changes in the outdoor environment.
“Our goal in applying was to further extend our initial first steps to include helping children develop an understanding and respect for the natural environment and interdependence between people, plants, animals and the land,” Ms Veld said.
The team also joined with the local community garden volunteers, Bunnings and local businesses, including the local coffee shop which sends newspapers and bottle lids back to the centre.
“Our project keeps us accountable as we have set goals and we work closely with the ECEEN team through mentoring to achieve these goals,” Ms Veld said.
National judge and Goodstart national manager professional practice Greg Antcliff said the centre’s sustainability focus evolved over time and achieved more than just reducing waste and increasing recycling.