Early Years Explore A Zero Waste Play Day.

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Hidden away in the metropolis of Pune is a little, secret oasis where the children were at one with nature. The Farm-Protecterra provided a perfect environment for all three of our early year’s classes to have fun, bond with each other and learn more about their units of inquiry.

The day started off with the children being greeted by their hosts, Ms Pooja and Oslo the Siberian husky. We are sure that those of you with children in our early years have heard all about them. The children were full of wonderment and excitement about what they would encounter throughout their day. They explored compost heaps, fragrant plants, saw the new saplings, community vegetable plots, rescue animals and even experienced what it would feel like to live in a cage at a zoo.

PS 1 was enthralled by the animals at the farm, they became risk takers when they went into the goat’s pen to touch the goats. They also took action and tried to make their own campfire using the ash from a previous fire. The PS 2 children were curiously listening to the sounds of nature, they were bewildered by the smell of the farm, they were searching for new ideas on how they could take care of the environment. The PS3 children used the space to explore the items that had been reused. They found an abundance of materials, from doors reconstructed into a kitchen, baths upcycled into ponds and, mud and bamboo huts.

The treehouse was the highlight of the trip. The anxious, yet excited, learners climbed the stairs to take a view of the whole farm. They sat on the cane chairs, giggled with their friends and took a long look at the picturesque view. Sitting on the picnic mats, exhausted from their walk around the farm, they enjoyed their home-cooked lunches whilst discussing the events of the morning. Following all the excitement, the children ventured off to the meditation tent. They quietened themselves and listened to the singing bowl and conch. They reflected on all the things that mother earth gives us and how we should do our very best to protect her.

Ms Pooja had planted a seed for all the children to ponder on, she has made a vow to produce zero waste.

Development is inevitable. The key thought is to be sustainable. Our impact as a species is detrimental on our planet. So what do we do about it? Not everyone can come and live on a farm as I do. What are our options then to move towards sustainability?  Zero Waste is a tough one. But it simply starts with a choice. We have the ability to make a choice in everything we choose to buy and consume. Less packaging = fresh foods = healthy eating = less waste. When we choose a fresh meal over a processed item, we are choosing health alongside the environment. When we choose local over global we are promoting local living economies and fairer trade. When we choose to wash our hands with water instead of using hand sanitizer or tissues we are choosing chemical and waste-free lifestyles. There is a choice to be made at every level of our existence. It starts very simply with one step at a time. Zero Waste might not be easy but it is possible when we start to become conscious of our impact.” Pooja R. Bhale, Conservation Biologist, Director and Founder of Protecterra Ecological Foundation and The Farm.

A few reflections from the day were:

‘I liked to pet the dogs’- Juwon PS1

‘I liked the cats’- Aditya PS1

‘I only saw one cat. The other cats were hiding behind the bushes because they don’t like noise. That’s why I drew a sad face.’- Nandita PS2

‘I saw a goat eating food. One goat was not eating food.’- Hridhaan

‘her roof was made of plastic… old plastic’- Samar PS3

‘she had so many things of waste, so she made a house with it’- Suhaana PS3

Some of the fabulous engagements that have come out of our trips are that the PS1 children have decided to make a goat house on their class farm. The children in PS2 have been discussing how they can make a compost heap and are developing their ideas on how to make one. In PS3 the main topic of conversation is about not cutting down trees.

The Early Years Team