Play – our way! Eco week Jan 2020

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Play – our way! Eco week Jan 2020

Our eco calendar 

A large part of our ethos and purpose revolves around re-purposing items for play purposes.  In fact in the journal Bronagh and I both co wrote we have a monthly section for eco sustainability.  We record as a company what we

  1. Reduce – how we are reducing waste as a company eg. replacing disposable hand towels with cotton re washable towels and blue disposable cleaning cloths with microfibre cloths.
  2. Re use – this is huge in a Reggio inspired setting where everything is seen as having more than one purpose.
  3. Recycle – which of course is very self explanatory
  4. Repair – what were we able to repair rather than replace.  If we cannot repair something electrical we simply re use it as a play item eg. fridges or cookers just go into our home corners or outdoor mud kitchens.  Children love taking electrical items apart and a tinker station is a regular feature in our play environments.
  5. Respect – nurturing is an important part of our ethos
  6. Reflect – what have we done this month to take action, change attitudes and care for our environments eg. have we been able to have a skype meeting rather than travelling unnecessarily.  I for example now live on a train commuter route so on days when Im entirely office based I’ve committed to using public transport!

Our eco play examples from week commencing 13th January 

We are mindful every week in our planning as we are both a Reggio Inspired and a Curiosity Approach accredited company.

We are always looking at alternative ways to think!  We get ideas from the children, parents or carers and of course from the staff but here are just a few we have used this week:-

  • Re-cycle wellingtons – we have used these as planters outside
  • Provide animal habitats e.g.bee hotel or bug hotel (one of our afterschools settings)
  • Pass on clothes that can be re-used.  We regularly collect for homeless charity appeals and have sent clothes over to both Kenya, India and Tazania with former Sleepy Hollow ‘pupils’ who have been out doing charity work.  The children have loved hearing how their clothes have helped others.  We have also collected donations of nappies and newborn clothes for Flourish NI.  This week the children are discussing new ideas for collections in 2020 – watch this space.

• Used Biodegradable nappy sacks and are encouraging parents to use eco nappies

• Picked fallen leaves or twigs on our forest walks to use as loose parts

  • Re –used bottles such as shampoo bottles, small bottles, squirty soap bottles for water play
  • Plant seeds and create a vegetable garden.
  • Collected rain water to use for watering our indoor plants
  • We gave careful attention to where used paint is emptied, down sink – water pollution, in bin – adding to landfill
  • Bought eco-friendly products and firmly support fairtrade produce .
  • We have repurposed Christmas lights and old frames to make a wonderful art wall displaying the children’s paintings or pictures

  • We have used pallets, a old jenga game to make a fabulous car port, and garage for our cars – way more fun than any plastic garage – GUARANTEED!

  • We made our own ‘glitter’ from natural items rather than the ‘traditional’ glitter which we no longer use due to research showing how harmful this microplastic is to wildlife and the environment.

  • We repurpose lots of items such as the old brief case below and jotters so children can use this mobile office as somewhere to record their ideas.  This also encourages the children to repurpose their own belongings.

  • In one of our settings we had out of date rice which of course wasn’t fit for human consumption but we were able to dye it lots of colours and combine it with some loose parts to make the most wonderful paintings.

So as you can see eco-week is just another week for us in Sleepy Hollow.  Eco planning is so ingrained in our ethos we don’t need a ‘dedicated week’ but its good to remind ourselves how far we have come and to ensure we keep the discussions alive in settings.

We would welcome any suggestions you may have!


16th January 2020


Awards & Recognition