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Sustainability is often thought about in terms of environmental sustainability—reducing waste, minimising consumption and protecting and conserving wildlife and natural habitats.

These are all important aspects of being sustainable but, sustainability can also be considered more broadly as: ‘being able to meet our current needs without infringing on the ability of future generations to meet their needs’.

From this perspective, sustainability is not just about conservation but also about related issues of fairness and equity and the importance of thinking about our impact on the lives of future generations.

Today’s young children represent the first of those future generations and this makes it important for us, as educators, to help them realise the significance of caring for and protecting their environment.

This responsibility is reflected in the NQS, which asks that each service take ‘an active role in caring for its environment and contributes to a sustainable future’ (NQS Standard 3.3). More specifically, settings are asked to embed sustainable practices into their operations (Element 3.3.1) and to support children to ‘become environmentally responsible and show respect for the environment’ (Element 3.3.2).

This can be found in the centre’s worm farm, recycling of paper waste and other material in each of the rooms within the service, compost, feeding the chicken on the premises the leftover food from the children and collecting the eggs that are produced, resourcing paper and resources from local business to use rather than buy new.