As part of the educational program Responsible Waste Management for Teachers of Kindergarten Radost, 10 workshops for kindergarten teachers and five for children were held in the period from March 14 to June 6, 2023.
Within three months, Kindergarten Radost educators and Sunce educators intensively socialized at lectures and workshops. Below is a short overview of our gatherings and activities.
1. Introductory workshop
The first workshop was intended to introduce participants and educators. We started the workshop with the activity Interviewing Partners, in which the participants asked each other questions in order to get to know each other. The second activity was the Secret Friend, with which the participants drew out their secret friend, whom they will get to know more during the program, and at the end surprise them with a small gesture of gratitude. In order to inform educators about the waste management system, a visit to the Orišac Recycling Yard was also organized. This visit made it possible to learn about the processes of recycling and waste disposal, and to gain practical experience and insight into the functioning of the recycling system.
2. Sustainable waste management
At the workshop, the participants had the opportunity to become familiar with the topic of sustainable waste management and to become aware of the ways in which we as individuals can contribute to waste management.
Using interesting examples and information, the participants discovered how huge amounts of waste end up in landfills every day and how vast is their negative impact on nature. They learned how simple changes in our daily lives, such as proper sorting of waste, can have a significant positive impact on the environment.
The lectures and assignments covered the topics of waste, environmental impact, proper recycling, and the EU’s circular economy action plan.
However, the workshop was not only theoretical. The participants applied the acquired knowledge in practice. They inspected the environment of their school and jointly chose the most suitable place for making a compost bin.
3. Composting – what is it and how to do it?
Through the composting workshop, the teachers were introduced to the method of composting, why it is important to compost and how to maintain the composting site. Composting is a natural process of breaking down organic material, such as food scraps and garden waste, into a rich soil known as compost. Composting not only reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills, but also creates fertile soil that can be used for gardening and plants.
During the practical part of the workshop, the educators diligently collected, shredded and stacked the material on the compost pile.
The key aspect of this workshop was the creation of a long-term plan for the maintenance of the compost site, in which the children will be included. This plan is designed to ensure regular maintenance of the compost site, addition of new material and monitoring of the decomposition process. Involving children in this plan has several advantages – in addition to being educated about the importance of composting, children will develop a sense of responsibility towards the environment and learn about natural cycles.
4. Eco-activities for kindergarten children
During the lectures, the kindergarten teachers were shown ways to introduce children of kindergarten age to the topics of ecology and the nature that surrounds us. In addition, we presented a series of eco-activities of creating new and useful materials from different types of waste, in order to raise children’s ecological awareness.
One of the eco-activities is the production of voskomot – a reusable ecological foil made of beeswax that serves as a substitute for plastic and aluminum foils. At this workshop, the teachers started making wax motes, and we also recycled paper. Creative eco-activities present waste as a resource from which we can create something new and useful.
5. Eco-activities for children of nursery age
During the workshop, we highlighted the importance of being in nature and using natural materials when working with children. We learned how to create games and didactic materials intended for children of nursery age. We learned how to bring flora and fauna closer to children and introduce them to the problem of pollution. The theory was implemented with educational games and the creation of natural bird feeders from orange peel, as well as the creation of compost in a glass container. Through creative play and practical activities, children acquire valuable knowledge about environmental conservation and the importance of natural materials. Such experiences will inspire them to be aware of their surroundings and active participants in preserving our beautiful nature.
6. Environmental responsibility – energy and water
The sixth workshop was reserved for familiarization with the environmentally-responsible functioning of the institution, with an emphasis on energy and water consumption. We determined the biggest consumers of energy and losses in the consumption of resources. We have presented ways of saving and opportunities for better utilization of resources with less consumption of energy and water. It was extremely useful for the educators to see ways of saving and optimizing the consumption of resources without making big sacrifices. As part of the practical part of the workshop, we made cleaning products from natural ingredients – vinegar, distilled water, tea tree and lemon essential oils, and rosemary and sage leaves.
7. Environmental responsibility – procurement and transport
As part of the workshop, the participants were introduced to alternative modes of transport, the advantages of sustainable fashion compared to fast fashion, ecological shopping, i.e. guidelines for purchasing ecologically sustainable products, and also ways of falsely advertising products as ecological (greenwashing). We applied the new knowledge in practice with a consumerist walk – a walk in which educators critically reflected on the store products on the shelf and looked for alternatives for all those they recognized as part of the greenwashing. We also checked the state of our composting site.
8. Implementation of environmentally responsible principles
At the workshop, the participants recognized how they can easily introduce environmentally responsible changes in their educational services. By solving the Green Test, we found out which environmentally responsible changes in our institutions are already implemented, which changes we cannot influence, and which changes we can and should make. They also created a plan for the implementation of changes with children and organized how to implement them until the end of June. Finally, the educators solved the Ecological Footprint test in order to become aware of our own ecological footprint that we as individuals create on the Earth – how we contribute to the pollution and how can we influence its reduction.
9. Environmental responsibility in the community
During the workshop, the concept of the Storm of Thought activity was presented, with which the teachers discussed past and future collaborations with the local community and parents. By presenting past experiences, the parties with which they are most satisfied were selected and recommendations for the future were made, such as encouraging cooperation with parents by organizing education for parents and children. The workshop also included a World Cafe activity, in which the participants, divided into two groups, discussed the involvement of the local community and parents in responsible waste management.
10. How was it and what’s next?
We devoted the last workshop to evaluating the entire program with the teachers, recalling past workshops and discussing how it was, what would be changed and what are the ideas for the future. We also distributed diplomas for successful completion of the program, and exchanged gifts from a secret friend. Finally, we organized a Swap Fair for children who were more than satisfied with the possibility of exchanging their old toys for a new one and with the idea of exchanging with their peers. The educators liked the idea and plan to apply it in their future work.
WORKSHOPS WITH CHILDREN, Kindergarten Radost:
SEA AND FOREST ECOSYSTEM workshops (Kindergarten Iskrica and Kindergarten Trešnjica)
In Kindergarten DV Iskrica and Kindergarten Trešnjica, workshops on the Ecosystem of the Sea and Forest were held, in which children of mixed ages participated. At these “forest” and “sea” workshops, children learned about food chains in nature and the food pyramid of the animals of the mentioned areas. Through the game of visual representation of the forest and the sea, they determined the nutritional status of certain animals, learned about animals, their diet and the problems of the disappearance of species from the environment.
BIODIVERSITY IN COLOR AND TEXTURE workshop (Kindergarten Pluto)
In Kindergarten Pluton, a workshop was held to recognize colors and textures in a closed environment (the interior of the kindergarten) and the open environment that surrounds them, in this case the playground of their kindergarten. At the workshop, children learned to recognize different colors and textures that can be found in their environment, including in nature.
Workshop MY GLASS OF COMPOST (Kindergarten Cvrčak)
In this workshop, the children of Kindergarten Cvrčak learned what compost is and how it is composted. They had the task of making compost in an individual jar with the guidance of the educators and teaching them about the importance of each layer and maintenance methods, in order to end up with healthy, pleasant-smelling compost. Everyone also received their own diary in which they will be able to monitor the level, temperature, smell and moisture of the compost for the next four weeks.
BIRD FEEDING workshop (Kindergarten Margaritela)
At Kindergarten Margaritela we made ecological bird feeders with the help of orange peel, rope and seeds. The children learned about the importance of using food and ways to reuse items. In addition to making feeders, we also refreshed ourselves with freshly squeezed orange juice. Simply put – healthy and useful.