Kurri Kurri preschoolers learn about recycling through Return and Earn initiative | Newcastle Herald

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The kids at Kurri Kurri Preschool are proof that good habits should start at a young age. The preschoolers learn about recycling through the Return and Earn initiative and are involved in the entire process of the scheme. Kurri Kurri Preschool director Nicci McDowell said they began using Return and Earn because at family events held with parents and grandparents, they often had food and cans of soft drink – which meant lots of cans to recycle after each event. “This evolved into collection crates becoming part of these events and families depositing empty cans knowing we would recycle them at the Return and Earn deposit point across the road the following day,” Ms McDowell said. The children go on trips to return the cans where possible, and beyond that the preschool teaches them about the reasons for recycling. “We encourage children to care for the land, and a large part of this is the concept of rubbish, recycling, and sustainability,” Ms McDowell said. “Our children are very aware of sorting rubbish and we have bins at the preschool to reflect the council rubbish and recycling system used in our local community.” Funds raised from the Return and Earn scheme go into the preschool’s general fundraising pool, which at the moment is focused on their outdoor areas. “We’ve revived our worm farm, purchased new worms and invested in books and resources to support this system,” Ms McDowell said. “So far, we’ve collected lots of ‘worm juice’ and it’s making our veggie patch look very healthy and gardens look magnificent.” The director said she believed it was important that children were connected to nature, and for that reason they worked to utilise their large, natural playground to its full potential. She said when kids are involved in recycling and reuse at the preschool, they take that knowledge into their homes and the community. “The children enjoy talking about sustainability – they like to reuse and repurpose everyday items in their play, such as tyres, boxes, and pipes,” she said. And if stories the children prepared are anything to go by, the recycling message is definitely sinking in. Student Travis’s story said: “Once upon a time the big giant whale fish it ate a colourful fish. But it wasn’t a colourful fish! You know the whale fish died because it didn’t eat the colourful fish. The whale die because it has too many poisonous rubbish in its body!!” Ellie’s said: “Once upon a time a fish was swimming into a can and it started to eat it and the fish ate lots of bits of the can and it died. 500 years ago!! The rubbish stays forever but the fish doesn’t. It dies and then it’s gone.”

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