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Green Living for Healthy and Safe Children
Going Green with Your Litttle One
It is never too early to begin teaching children to live green. Toddlers can begin to learn simple concepts of living green as early as two years of age. Parents are always a child's first teacher. Children watch the habits of their parents when learning a concept. The concept of living green is no exception.
Parents can begin to set a good example by teaching children to recycle. Even your toddler can learn this skill. Toddlers are able to easily grasp the concept of sorting. Recycling involves sorting plastic, paper, and glass. Let your toddler sort the plastic and paper items whenever you are ready to recycle these items. If the recycling bins are within easy reach, your toddler will willingly participate.
Planting a garden is also a great way for parents to begin teaching living green ideas to young children. Children are always enthusiastic when helping to plant. They enjoy seeing the completed product when the vegetables or fruits are ready to pick. Gathering vegetables or fruits from your own garden changes the answer to the question of "where does food come from" (most children will say "the grocery store") to "food can come from the garden."
Other simple things to do with your young child to teach concepts in living green are picking up the trash when going to the park, helping to pick up trash on a beach, and turning off the lights when there is no one using them in a particular room. Children will also enjoy water activities if the concept of clean water is introduced.
The earlier that living green concepts are introduced to our children, the better for our earth and our children's world.
Green Living for an Eco-Friendly Childcare Center or School
Many parents use a childcare center to care for their infants and children during the workday. Parents want a childcare center that places the health and safety of the children in first place in its mission statement. Green living with safe and non-toxic toys, supplies, and cleaning products should be a top priority for teachers and caregivers. Many childcare centers consider their environment to be a place that emphasizes green living with their implementation of recycling programs and the use of non-toxic toys and cleaning products. Many childcare centers also have a vegetable garden. There is much more to the concept of green living for schools and childcare centers. Parents can have access to information about childcare centers that consider their environment to be successful in green living concepts by visiting the website of the National Green School Coalition. The site, www.nationalgreenschoolcoalition.org, has a wealth of information about what makes a school or childcare a "green" environment.
The National Green School Coalition is a national independent third-party green school certification and audit program that is governed by a group of environmental professionals. The organization has 184 requirements that a childcare center or school must meet in order to receive certification as a green school or childcare center. The requirements include the indoor air quality of a school or center, the elimination of environmental toxins such as cleaning products and toys, and the reduction of water and energy waste. Schools and childcare centers provide proof of their qualifications by submitting receipts and photos. Representatives from the green coalition also visit the school or childcare center that is applying for certification as a green school.
Parents can monitor their childcare center or school regularly by compiling a checklist from information provided by the National Green School Coalition.
Green Living with Your Child's Childcare Center or School
Eco-Friendly Apparel and Toys for the Little Ones
Have you ever thought about your child's clothes and wondered if the clothes are eco-friendly? Companies that make clothing from organically-grown cotton should be considered if your family lives "green". Clothing that has no toxic dyes and chemicals in the fabric is of interest to families who live "green". Finn + Emma is an example of a company that produces eco-friendly clothing and toys for the young ones in your family. The clothing line is made from 100% organically grown cotton from sustainable farms in India and Peru. Eco-friendly dyes and natural, untreated Indian wood are used in making the toys. Interested parents may visit the company's website at www.finnandemma.com to check out the clothing and toy collections that are available.