Last year, when searching for preschools, we got into a "green preschool" by accident. I admit it wasn't something we sought out, but we did appreciate the emphasis on environmentally-conscious learning. So what does it mean to be green? I've found it's not precisely defined. Schools and day care centers can use the term to refer to everything from the way the facility is constructed and maintained to the curriculum or emphasis on green practices.
At my son's preschool, the kids learned about green concepts like recycling and growing food. The toys were mainly wood, non-toxic, and encouraged imaginative play. Crafts were made from recycled materials. Parents received eco-minded information, such as keeping the home chemical-free. For me, all of that was icing on the cake for a fun, friendly environment where my son could make friends and learn.If you are curious about eco-minded schools or child care facilities, you can start with information from the Environmental Protection Agency, on making school environments a healthier place. It can seem overwhelming to consider all of the factors, but it is worth delving into issues like air quality, chemicals, and waste management at your child's school. The Oregon Environmental Council has an Eco-Healthy Child Care checklist that gives 30 steps child care facilities can take to be environmentally friendly and safe for children. The group also has a list of eco-healthy child care across the country. You can use the checklist not only in your search for the right day care or school, but it can help you make your own home safer and more environmentally friendly.