ECEC sustainability forum
The Early Childhood Education and Care Sustainability Forum was founded in March 2021 to provide a platform for members of the ECEC sector committed to increasing sustainability, covering all 3 pillars plus governance.
The aim of the forum
To support the development of a holistic and transformational Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) sector that promotes life-long learning and empowers the whole ECEC community of children, families, professional educators and administrators, in making more informed decisions and responsible actions for environmental integrity, economic viability and a just society, in the interests of present and for future generations to come.
The group intends to achieve this by:
- Sharing experiences and knowledge within the group, in a supportive manner.
- Sharing best practice with others to role model, encourage and support all in the ECEC sector to become more sustainable including:
- Bottom Up – educating practitioners
- Top Down – CEOs, Nursery owners/managers,
- Local Authorities
- Politicians nationally and locally
- To challenge greenwash and publicise same.
- Creating publishable research to support the effectiveness of sustainability within ECEC
Membership of the group is open to anyone in the sector with an interest in supporting, encouraging and role modelling sustainability in the ECEC sector. There are no restrictions on numbers.
Members meet every 6 weeks via Zoom, and non-members may be invited to group meetings on an ad hoc basis to speak and/or share experiences or knowledge.
If you are interested in joining the group, please contact us and a member of the forum will be in touch.
ECEC Sustainability Forum Minutes
22 November 2023 – ECEC Sustainability Meeting
20 September 2023 – ECEC Sustainability Meeting
18 July 2023 – ECEC Sustainability Meeting.
22 May 2023 – ECEC Sustainability Meeting.
14 March 2023 – ECEC Sustainability Meeting.
31 January 2023 – ECEC Sustainability Meeting.
22 February 2022 – ECEC Sustainability Meeting.
STEM and Sustainability
“Trying to help children understand that nature got here first.”
How do children learn about potential occupations?
Does assigning gender to certain career paths constitute as a sustainable method of learning or teaching? Watch the video to find out!
Senior Nursery Manager and Sustainability Lead for LEYF
42 nurseries across UK
Recently Nick has been working with June O’Sullivan and CACHE on L4 qualification – Eco Champions. Course content: covers the 3 area of sustainability, and includes a green project which takes places within the community.
Pedagogy: All incorporated with children’s voices.
June is open to sharing pedagogy, especially if this means helping sustainability move forward within the EY sector.
Academic (UK & International) and OMEP-UK Executive
John is a member of the OMEP-UK executive committee, an honorary Professor of the University of Plymouth, and a co-director of SchemaPlay which developed the OMEP-UK Early Childhood Education for Sustainable Citizenship Award. He has published widely on early childhood education for sustainable development, and took the lead in developing the original OMEP Educational Rating Scale Sustainable Development in Early Childhood (ERS-SDEC)
Founder of Enya's Childcare & Forest School
Enya is a passionate advocate of project-based and child-led practice. Building on her qualifications in Childhood Studies, Enya’s used the knowledge and experience she gained at international settings to start her own childcare setting in the UK.
Since opening doors in 2016, her ‘Outstanding’ Reggio-inspired and eco-centric setting has since enjoyed continuous growth and multiple awards for both revolutionary and environmentally responsible practice. This is testament to the work she has done to cultivate her own pedagogy that focuses on both the whole child as well as their environment, and the part they play as part of a natural global community.
Enya is excited to be joining a forum comprised of so many talented, passionate, and like-minded professionals who are working hard to protect our beautiful planet and its fragile climate while teaching the next generation practical ways to care for it.
“I am fortunate enough to see, first-hand, how children marvel at the natural world and have an innate passion for it. That has really brought home to me that they learn – from adults and our actions – to overconsume, to be passive and lazy in their actions and to really disrespect the planet. By trying to make sustainability a part of their education, and really a way of life, we hope to instil good habits that will last a lifetime and hopefully undo some of the damage done by generations before them. Children are enthusiastic little sponges, they want to learn the best way of doing something, so it is our job to teach them. My hope is that the childcare sector, families and wider society will see you don’t have to sacrifice all that much to make better choices and positive change.”
CACHE - Senior Subject Specialist Childcare
Currently looking at science in the Early Years – plenty of opportunities to bring sustainability into and raise awareness through discussions and activities. Would love to feed messages from the forum into the development of this.
CEO of Cosy Direct
Launched first sustainability report in September and applied for Queens Award (second time); hardly any people win the Queens Award, but feedback received is really useful; Cosy are using this to set their new vision and missions.
“Earth Warriors is the world’s first comprehensive climate education school curriculum for 3-11-year-olds that uses a positive & empowering approach.”
H&S Director of Childbase Partnership
44 nurseries across UK all with EcoSchools accreditation, 39 nurseries of these with Green Flag
Sustainability accreditation: PlanetMark
Sustainability is all about an engaged process – Chairman of Childbase is engaged with sustainability process and there are lots of people within the business that are keen on sustainability. Company strategy: Zero carbon by 2030.
Pedagogy: Teaching children about sustainability to improve the future
Sustainability Lead for Tops Day Nurseries
Started working in Early Years in Alaska in 1987.
Lots of involvement out there, before moving back to England to start up a nursery with a friend (use reusable nappies for 22 years)
Started working for Tops Day Nurseries, Nursery Manager – lead nursery to being UK’s first nursery to be awarded with Plastic Free School Award.
All of Tops Nurseries now have Green Flag (30 settings)
Helping launch the Real Nappy Project
Working with the settings from the ground up – help with the environments, sourcing the plants (making sure they’re robust enough to not have to be watered all the time), pushing the staff to re-use, recycle, to really get them to engage
Part of Tops Sustainability Group, which is steering Tops on its journey to net-zero carbon by 2025.
Impact Manager at N Family Club
Based in London – Quite new group, but expanding rapidly
Have own curriculum, based on 4 pillars – one is global responsibility (encompasses sustainability, environmental, wellness and holistic health)
Working towards Eco School Green Flag in all nurseries
Build from bottom up and get team on-board
Working towards Bcorp as well
Academic at Liverpool John Moores University, Faculty of Arts Professional and Social Studies
Works with Diane Boyd – Naomi is relatively new to sustainability – the need to understand the interconnected nature of sustainability – links between the environment, the economic & political and the social & cultural – requires educators who are reflexive, aware of personal bias and assumptions and awareness of human and non-human relationships; really excited to be part of the group, which shows an appreciation of sustainability making a difference.
Sustainability Manager at Cosy Direct
Masters in Human Rights & Global Ethics @ University Leicester
Teacher at Alfreton Nursery School
Teacher at Alfreton Nursery School (20 years) and previous TES teacher of the year winner; environmental education is my driver, its why I do what I do; current project in school “outdoor STEM hive” dedicated to education of Young EY children – deforestation, pollution and climate change, interdependence between natural and industrial worlds. Supporting children to understand that exploitation is not the way forward and not the kind of relationships that we need to be developing and respect for life is critical for the future.
Founder and Managing Director of Tops Day Nurseries
30 day nurseries across the South, BCorp achieved Feb 2021
Business ethic based upon sharing good practice, but understands the limitations and the need of different levels within each company to champion sustainability
Academic at Liverpool John Moores, Faculty of Arts Professional and Social Studies
Diane’s research in the last five six years/my work has been around early childhood education, sustainability and about getting children involved.
Diane has contacts in Australia (Australian citizen) and is linking up with Early Years through the indigenous programs of Australia as well.
Current project with Nursery World on Sustainable Development Goals
Outreach Officer at Enya's Childcare
Amy is the Outreach Officer at Enya’s Childcare, giving her an unique insight into the link between what the children learn in Early Years and how that impacts the community. Professionally, Amy’s qualifications and experience lean more to the artistic side, though her career has been varied across customer relations, marketing and consumer insights for both corporate bodies and charities. Personally though, she is an advocate for a better and more harmonious society where people respect each other and the world around them.
Since joining Enya’s, Amy has spearheaded several initiatives to make the children’s (and their families’) experiences as enjoyable and memorable as possible, while still being sustainable. She has done this by pulling on the community where the setting in based, and in doing so, has not only strengthened relationships but also created opportunities to educate others on small but sustainable changes.
“Our children are already in love with the natural world around them, and we need them to hold onto that sense of wonder because it will turn into a deep-set and lifelong passion. Sadly, these little sponges are at risk of getting caught up in 21st century life with its over-consumption, convenience and complacency. The forum is such a great opportunity to discuss, debate and come up with practical ways we can do better so that they don’t have to deal with the messes created before them. It really is a case of lots of small changes make a big impact – but people don’t like change. We have seen, first hand, how open-minded people can be when they see change in action and realise it isn’t as daunting as they think. We once asked to help look after a patch of community garden as part of our mission to create bee-friendly environments – now every setting in our town does the same, and there’s lots of positive change from that. The same is true for our community. Our little ones barrel in with awareness marches and (unsolicited) advice on how to reduce waste and recycle more…people are reluctant at first, but I think when they see the children so bold and passionate and able to live very full lives sustainably, they get curious and then they get involved. I’m excited to see the forum do this on a bigger scale – there’s no denying sustainability is really the only way forward, and it is wonderful to be part of a group dedicated to putting words into action.”
Managing Director of Young Friends Nature Nursery and Founder of SNAP
Runs Young Friends Nature Nursery and is 100% dedicated to sustainability and to teaching children to be sustainable. Young Friends has a sustainable pedagogy and sustainable curriculum, and that’s what they do all day, every day and speak to anyone about it (that will listen!).
Louise is currently looking for a nursery manager, so that she can step back and really immerse herself within sustainability, looking at how to give other people advice and share mistakes along the way.