By Brid Martin, Jan 2020 –
How a Newton preschool started a Green program with the help of School Connections
I am one of the founders of Pine Village Preschool, a Spanish immersion preschool for toddler and preschool-age children. We have ten schools located throughout Greater Boston, with two locations in Newton. I am enrolled in the Mindfulness Studies Master’s Degree Program at Lesley University, where I am currently taking my internship class, Mindfulness as Social Engagement. I have long been passionate about environmental issues and now have both the opportunity and dedicated time to develop a more environmentally friendly setting at each of our schools. I discovered the Green Newton School Connections group through an online search, and as a member since October 2019, I have already learned a lot. Most recently, I enrolled our West Newton School in the MassDEP The Green Team, an excellent resource I discovered through the group.
We have identified a list of goals to help us get a Green School program started. They include:
- placing recycling and composting containers at each school;
- educating directors and teachers on what gets recycled, composted, and logistics such as pick-up dates and times, etc.;
- creating developmentally appropriate curriculum in English and Spanish centered on the concepts of sustainability and mindfulness for toddlers and preschoolers;
- replacing paper and one-time use utensils with reusable options;
- utilizing recycle centers as potential resources for writing and art/curriculum materials;
- involving parents in our efforts and offering suggestions and tools that extended the learning and practices at home.
Implementing environmentally friendly practices and focusing our education on environmental issues at the West Newton School will help inform future rollouts at our other school locations. We also plan on sharing what we learn and the curriculum we develop with other preschool programs that are interested in starting a sustainability initiative.
We are running out of time to do something that halts and reverses the effects of climate change. The time is now, and we all bear the responsibility to save this planet for future generations. We have an opportunity to do something meaningful starting where we live, with our families, our workplaces, and our communities.
I am enthusiastically committed to creating Green Schools, one school at a time, while teaching our littlest citizens that they have the power to make change happen. I am optimistic about the future, and failure is not an option. I invite you to join an environmental group in your neighborhood. If you live or work in Newton, I highly recommend that you check out Green Newton. I have met many people who are already doing so much, and I have unearthed a treasure trove of resources to help me in my mission.
Cofounder, Pine Village Preschool