Even a 3 year old knows that a wrapper flying through the air on the street is not suppose to be there. When asked if that wrapper ever goes away, the little boy stopped to think a bit and then came a timid “no” , with a question mark at the end. Talking about “away” is a common topic at the Little Leaf Nursery School in Hastings these days and the students are learning.
Just recently We Future Cycle introduced recycling and composting and the students are now seasoned recyclers, knowing where materials go and where the food waste goes. They all reported that they feed the tumbler and they help tumbling.
To bring decomposition even closer, we created a trash garden with the students today. We cut up some fruits and vegetables, looked at the seeds and planted them together with strips of aluminum foil, corners of paper, a hard plastic bottle cap, some soft plastic wrappers and some cut up fruit and veggie peel.
The students learned about prediction and we tried to predict what would grow from the things we just planted. We will now keep our “trash garden” nicely watered and observe the changes.
Nine adorable 3 year olds were sitting wide eyed on the carpet while helping Anna Giordano from We Future Cycle empty two reusable bags of all sorts of packaging materials onto the carpet.
They picked up empty soda cans, empty peanut butter jars, empty glass bottles, crumpled aluminum foil, empty can food cans. They checked if one can rip a pizza box, and they crinkled the soft plastic wrapper of cookies.
When asked what all this stuff was, they answered according to what they had in their hand. “A bottle”, “Paper”, “box”.
When you ask elementary school children the same question, the answer will invariably be “trash”.
By elementary school age, children have learned already what trash is, and they have already been impregnated by the thought that all things they are done with is trash. They heard so many times already “just throw it away” that they have a clear understanding that “away” is a very convenient spot for unwanted things.
These nursery school children were so excited about that a bottle can, just like Lego, be a building block for something else again. They immediately grasped the concept that if you sort things in the right bin, you can use it again. With gusto they helped to sort items into the commingled or the paper recycling bin, and they asked to do it again. They learned to identify between hard and soft plastic and they learned that aluminum foil is metal. They can pick out paper and cardboard, and they learned with sadness that little plastic baggies are not recyclable again, but really trash.
Theresa McCaffrey, owner of Little Leaf Nursery school is very focused on teaching her students about nature. The multi-age nursery school is located within Andrus-on-Hudson, a senior residential community, and it’s 25 acres are the children’s living classroom. Little Leaf at Andrus On Hudson is in Hastings 185 Old Broadway, Hastings-On-Hudson, NY 10706. Gorgeous. There is a garden, a mud kitchen for the kids, and all kinds of outdoor activities. Daily routine is a nature walk, come rain or shine and these kids are suited up in rain gear and are running around with huge smiles on their tiny faces. They do activities with self collected acorns, they have communal snack on washable plates and bowls, all organic, non processed foods, heavy on fresh fruits and vegetables. You will find no sugary juice boxes or processed lunchables here. A fabulous place!
And now, the students are also learning about the cycle of food waste into compost. We Future Cycle set up a compost tumbler and the students are now sorting their clementine peel into a cute froggie shaped bin and are proudly taking turns to bring the bin to the composter, mixing in the browns with the greens, and then tumble.
Under the guidance of Ms Caffrey and her two amazing assistants, Little Leaf students are already making a difference in this world. Way to go!
Can you imagine 110 times the amount of garbage as in this picture? Well, this is what Hastings-on-Hudson school district has not generated in the past year thanks the robust We Future Cycle recycling program it adopted last year. About 22 tons.
Thanks to the endless energy and support of Maureen Carabello, Treasurer, as well as the two head custodians in the elementary school and the middle/high school Hastings can look proudly upon major accomplishments.
Both buildings reduced their garbage so significantly that they reduced the number of dumpster by 50% and were able to renegotiate a $2000.00 reduction in their pick up cost.
Custodial staff was also able to reduce their plastic bag usage and purchases by 50% which is an expense often overlooked.
Truly an astonishing first year results. Hats off to Hastings-on-Hudson.
We Future Cycle is proud to be featured on FiOS 1 News by reporter Christina Chiarelli, who was on site at Hastings’ Hillside Elementary School. Ms. Chiarelli spoke with the school’s head custodian, George Giannone, aide Kim Osborne, and many students about how the program has dramatically reduced lunchroom waste.
As well, interviews with the students’ demonstrated how much they have learned about recycling from participating in the program! Hands-on recycling and composting give kids a tangible understanding of how their actions have an impact on the environment.
Watch the broadcast by clicking here or on the image below:
Sean Adams of WCBS radio recently covered the We Future Cycle implementation at Hastings-on-Hudson schools, featuring We Future Cycle founder Anna Giordano, Hastings’ Hillside Elementary School Assistant Principal Farid Johnson, Facilities Director George Prine, and Food Service Director Alan Levin.