Press release: July 2019         

Sussex nursery owner launches free online platform to help nurseries across the UK become more sustainable

 

Louise Lloyd-Evans, owner of Young Friends Nursery and Nature School in Hove, has launched an initiative aimed at nursery owners across the UK encouraging sustainability across all areas of their working environment including cutting single-use plastic.

Sustainable Nurseries Against Plastic (SNAP) is an online resource forum where nurseries can join together to compare and share ideas, and get and give advice on how to operate more sustainably within their business. The end aim is that Early Years children countrywide will have the knowledge from the off to change their world.

SNAP is the first forum in the UK dedicated to the connection between nurseries and sustainability, it is a space for a growing community in the Early Years educational sector who share a belief that positive change and improved sustainability in nurseries is not only possible, but vital.

Louise says: “SNAP was born from a passion to change and provide a better world for our children. In today’s climate we have a duty to educate young people, staff and owners from day one so it becomes a natural responsibility. I was disturbed by the lack of care about the environment in nurseries which are terrible at using single-use plastic – shoe covers, glitter, wet wipes, nappy sacks, disposable nappies, balloons, the list is endless. People are scared by change so we started to make them one by one and teach the children why we were doing so.

“SNAP is about helping nurseries wake-up to sustainability. It’s not just about providing statistics and information on the harm we are doing. It’s creating a ground level discussion for Early Years professionals on how we can change, improve, identify and share the problems we may face in doing so, and most importantly how we can overcome these together.”

Nursery establishments wanting to get involved in SNAP can currently do so by joining the Facebook page, a website is currently being developed.  Louise has further plans to host training days for Early Years providers across the UK on sustainability and the Sustainable Education Approach. Sussex-based nurseries can join the next SNAP meeting which takes place on Wednesday 24th July, 6.30pm at Young Friends Nursery and Nature School’s allotment in Hove, people can contact Louise via the SNAP Facebook page or directly at the nursery.

The newly launched forum has support from key organisations including Surfer Against Sewage, Hove Plastic Free Community Team, Brighton & Hove Council’s sustainability department and local Labour MP Peter Kyle.

Peter Kyle MP said: “The climate and environmental crisis is finally rising up the political agenda and it’s inspiring initiatives like the SNAP scheme that show what a difference we can make as communities and as individuals when we put our minds to it. I support the SNAP scheme wholeheartedly – it’s an amazing idea that is rightly getting the recognition it deserves, and I’ll be doing everything I can to be its champion!

Creating mini-eco warriors:

Louise started her eco journey by making the decision that Young Friends Nursery and Nature School’s curriculum would be entirely nature-based, it is currently the only plastic-free nursery in Sussex.

In 2014 she rented allotment space from the council and created a Nature Plot which has since doubled in size. The plot is rich with nature-based education, teaching the children about fruit and veg growing and biodiversity. It has an outdoor classroom, compost area, hedgehog houses, a pond, wild bird feeding areas, a greenhouse and soon-to-be wormery – being outdoors helps develop and sustain good mental health in the children. Away from the plot the children go on regular beach cleans, recently teaming up with Year 6 children in one of the local junior schools.

Around the same time Louise decided that real and natural equipment in the nursery was far more beneficial – she believes education comes from the irregularity of nature – colour, size, real imagination and investigation instead of ‘bought’ sets of equipment whose purpose is instructed by the creator.

As an example home corners in the nursery were replaced with real teacups, crockery, jugs, pouring equipment etc. Plastics fruit and vegetables were replaced with the real deal, the children learnt to chop and pour with real skills. Children look after their classrooms with real dustpan and brushes, and unusually for a city nursery they clean and care for a growing gang of animals including rabbits and Guinea pigs.

Making such substantial changes by committing to sustainability has not come without its challenges, communication has been key. Louise has had to ensure her team embrace and get on board with all the plans. The same applies to parents who have incurred small costs and inconveniences like cloth nappies and having to take their shoes off instead of using shoe covers. Louise’s vision is working, with many parents commenting on how responsible their pre-schoolers are becoming, often leading them by example.

Louise continues:

“I’ve seen the positive effects all this change is having on our nursery and I now feel it’s time to try and encourage other to do the same, I’m doing the research and want people to come on a journey with me. I’m realistic, I don’t expect everyone to become an eco-school but we really ought to be doing the basics, SNAP can teach other nurseries to do this in a cost effective and user-friendly way.”

-End-

 

Notes to Editors:

For more information please contact Emma Knott on 07900 183300 or email emmalouiseknott@yahoo.co.uk

About Louise Lloyd-Evans:
SNAP was begun by Louise Lloyd-Evans, owner and manager of Young Friends Nature Nursey. Louise holds a level 7 in Childcare, is an Early Years Professional and been working in Childcare for 16 years. Young Friends has been Outstanding since its conception in 2009 – it is the only nursery to achieve four consecutive Outstanding’s in Brighton and Hove. Young Friends holds several Nursery World Awards and the Eco Schools Green Flag. Louise initiated and runs termly private nursery owner’s meetings and has written educational articles for publications such as Nursery Management Today, ABC Magazine and Nursery World. Expert in childcare field. Visit: www.youngfriends.co.uk