Sprouts Awards And The Safer Solutions Project

The second SPROUTS Awards was held at The Point Pre-school, Oyster Bay, Sydney on Wednesday 28th February. The SPROUTS Awards highlight examples of sustainable early childhood services.

The winning entry was The Point Pre-school and the award was made for their holistic approach to environmental projects at the centre. The kids, teachers and their Director, Catherine Lee, plus a host of parents, local indigenous leaders and educators and their local MP created a lively event.

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Pre-schoolers made individual presentations on their projects:

  • creating a frog pond, which now has a new resident striped marsh frog;
  • creating a fairy garden, full of plants and artwork;
  • encouraging local birds to visit the school by planting bird-attracting plants and installing a bird bath;
  • local field trips so kids can learn about their local environment;
  • making a worm farm to produce worm juice;
  • planting a bush tucker garden;

The bush tucker garden was guided by John Lennis of the Hawkesbury Catchment Management Authority, a former colleague and Education Officer at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. It was great to see John again!

But the most exciting project of all was their latest fundraising project. The kids had made their own paper mache plant pots, propagated plants in them and then sold them and their worm juice. The funds went to sponsor the care of a Lace Monitor lizard at Taronga Zoo – and that species is the local totem animal for Oyster Bay. What a brilliant idea!

It’s amazing how much more youngsters know these days (compared to when I was a kid) and how concerned they are about sustainability. I was overwhelmed by the complexity of the projects they had done and the level of awareness they have. The Point Pre-School can only be described as a vital and nourishing environment for kids to learn.

Encouragement awards were given to:
The Kindy Club, a new pre-school, where the whole garden has been developed as a natural environment;

Eco Pre-schools, where they have focussed on waster reduction and re-use;

If you’d like your pre-school to participate in the SPROUTS project or want further information contact Julie Gaul, Project Officer, email nsweceen@earlychildhoos.org.au

My involvement was through the Total Environment’s ‘Safer Solutions’ Project which I’m helping with. It provides information necessary to take action to make our homes safer and keep our families healthy. Safer Solutions is designed to raise awareness about the dangers of hazardous chemicals used in and around the home and their potential impact on the health of young children (0-8 years) and the environment.

Young children are at risk from exposure to chemicals commonly used inside and outside the home. Safer Solutions in your garden is concerned about hazardous chemicals found in commonly used garden products, especially pesticides.

The reduction of hazardous chemicals is vital to protect the health and safety of children and the environment and is the responsibility of all parents, educators and governments. Safer Solutions encourages the community to question the use of toxic chemicals.

Safer Solutions provides information on non-toxic products and alternative solutions to hazardous chemicals that are easy to use, won’t cost the earth and make our homes and gardens healthier and safer environments. See:

The Total Environment Centre was established in 1972 and has undertaken over 100 successful campaigns to protect the natural environment; improve the urban quality of life; and reform environmental laws and practices at national and state levels. The Total Environment Centre is a non-government organisation and depends on donations to survive.

Jerry Coleby-Williams


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