Sustainability must start in the nursery

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

As a coalition of early years educators, we are alarmed that sustainability hasn’t been given a stronger focus in the government consultation on reforms to the early years foundation stage, which closes this Friday.

Politicians of all parties must urgently acknowledge and address the vital impact that sustainability must have on saving future generations and our planet. We can only make a lasting difference by teaching the next generation about the values of sustainability. In England we start this too late, when children begin full-time at school.

England lags behind not just Scotland and Wales, but also New Zealand and Australia, which have already embedded sustainability into early years education. We must catch up. Children must be encouraged to learn through their involvement in reducing the environmental impact of their homes and pre-schools. An ethos of sustainability must be embedded in every aspect of daily life and the management of early years settings. Additionally, providers must ensure their employees understand, through training and information, that they are role models for sustainable citizenship.

Early years providers are uniquely placed to cultivate respect for sustainable practices, and we believe that the government needs to recognise this and extend the support for the environment that already exists in primary schools into early years too.

The government must introduce sustainability to the curriculum as early as possible, and encourage behaviours that will teach the next generation to secure a more sustainable future for all.

Source: The Guardian