Empowering children to care for their common home

4 October 2021
Image: ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock.com


Spring is a reminder we have a responsibility to care for our common home. Chishom Primary School Catholic Out of School Hours Care (COSHC) Coordinator Amy Quye talks about empowering ways they can make a positive difference to their environment.

These days it’s impossible to turn on the television and not see stories about global warming and the negative impact on the environment. Our children are seeing these stories too and some are becoming anxious about what that means for them and how they can engage with environmental sustainability.

Being active in the environmental space can give children ‘active hope’ if they are feeling overwhelmed by all the negative environmental news they hear and read about.

Amy Quye the Service Coordinator at the new Catholic Out of School Hours Care (COSHC) service at Chisholm Primary Bligh Park explains how the team is empowering children and encouraging them to participate in sustainable practices.

“It’s part of our mission as Catholics to create a sustainable environment,” says Amy, “and to do that we engage children in sustainable practices.

“It seems that many children don’t get to talk about these issues at home and so most of what they’re learning about the environment and sustainability is either with us or at school. We encourage parents to start conversations at home on respecting and caring for the environment, because that is the future”.

Amy adds that there are many things that can be done to help children get excited about the environment and give them agency in environmental sustainability.

“At the COSHC we have a range of activities. Among other things we recycle bottles and swap them for money at the Return and Earn station, we collect bread tags for Bread Tags for Wheelchairs, we have a recycled materials area for play and leisure – where the children use materials such as boxes to create tracks, box forts in creative play. Additionally, we compost at the centre and we also propagate plants. We’ve shown children how they can grow beans in ziplock bags on our windowsills, transferred them to recycled bottles as they’ve grown and finally sent the plants home for the children to put in their own gardens.”

Prior to starting at Bligh Park, Amy was the COSHC Coordinator at St Finbars, Glenbrook, for four years. She said during that time, by consistently implementing sustainability projects, she saw a real change in the children.

“We saw a transformation in the children, where they became more engaged and curious. They wanted to participate, suggested activities, planted veggies. Over time that the children took ownership of those activities.”

Tips to get your children more engaged with the environment:

  • Turn off your devices and get outside with your kids. Get in the garden, take a walk and make it fun for the children to engage with nature.
  • Gather all your bottles and take them to a recycling centre such as Return and Earn, in exchange your children could choose how to spend the money returned – https://returnandearn.org.au/how-it-works/
  • Work as a family to reduce waste. Brainstorm a list of ways you can reduce household waste by using less paper, recycling and composting and work together to achieve that goal.
  • You don’t need a large space to garden. You can propagate succulents on a balcony or grow beans with just a seed, a ziplock bag and a paper towel.

To find out about Catholic Out of School Hours Care near you go to parracatholic.org/childcare


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