When you take your children to daycare there are so many things to think about as a parent. Their safety is of course number one and when you’re not there to protect your child, you want to make sure they are in a safe, loving and healthy environment. I’ve been on both sides of the fence being a provider and now a parent. State licensing has rules and regulations for playground equipment, cleaning, feeding the children, training hours for staff, etc. The providers I know don’t get rich and they do care about the children; which is why they’re in the business.
If you’re a parent there are several things you can to help your provider learn about becoming an eco-friendly green daycare, just like there are many things you can do to assess a childcare center before enrolling your child. When I see providers spraying Lysol on baby toys while the children are in the room (I witnessed this last week) yes, I freak but then I realize that there is a lack of knowledge and it takes time to help educate people on new ways to do things and why they should make the change.
1. 5 Simple Steps. Watch this Healthy Child video to help you as a parent understand simple things you can do at home and how your provider can make simple changes. Email or schedule a meeting with the administrator or head teacher and watch the video together. Discuss why you feel it is important and what changes you can make together for a healthier school and classroom for all of the children.
2. Eco-Healthy Child Care Provider Endorsement. View this example endorsement guide from Oregon to see how other states are working to help childcare centers green up their act and provide this to your provider. Use it as a guide to help you in making your choice for childcare and perhaps start something similar in your state – someone has to start the movement!
3. Trust Your Gut. How does the center smell? Do you smell bleach or start sneezing? Does some research about your state child care licensing rules for cleaning? Ask the director or administrator what they clean with and how they disinfect. What are their policies for pesticides? It’s okay to ask questions.
4. Don’t Panic. I’ve learned this the hard way but it pays to be cool and level headed and know the facts before talking to the teacher or administrator. Providing them with examples, websites and ways that you can support them in this educational process of greening their center, the better! I often refer providers to Green Your School, Healthy Schools and Beyond Pesticides.
Why not? Great tips for free!