How one centre achieved excellence rating with the Backyard in a Box resources
The dream of owning a childcare centre was hard fought but also very rewarding. As many peaks as I have had, so too have there been an equal number of pits. The deepest of these pits was transitioning from childcare into education for sustainability resources in what eventually has become The Backyard Collective. Conceived in 2006, Backyard in a Box launched in 2013, our main objective was to educate the market about the importance of integrating sustainability into formal early childhood education experiences. 2014 heralded the mandatory implementation of sustainability nationally and we finally came into our own during the announcement of Long Day Care Professional Development Funding in 2014.
When this funding closed, once again our core business became all about educating the market, encouraging centres to spend their own (rather than the governments) hard earned money on sustainability resources. Affordability was another key barrier to accessing resources. The obvious way forward it digital. The Backyard in a Box team have been working to clear the last of our printed stock and this month, we are finally moving digital!
The provision of E-resources will of course reduce manufacturing waste as well as reduce production costs, making the resources more widely accessible even for services on a tight budget. Inevitably, the tactile experience of holding a book will be replaced with more screen time for children and staff within the services.
I recently caught up with a client from Perth, Western Australia (Jenny Seow, Area Manager of Warooga Childcare Riverton and Southern River) who has been using the Backyard in a Box resources for a little over a year now. During our chat, Jenny shared a little of her sustainability journey with me.
“Kiri, we got exceeding in quality area 3” (physical environment and sustainability) to which I replied “Jenny that’s wonderful! How? What did you do differently?” Jenny then went on to explain “You know Kiri, it all started with the training. I brought you over to Perth and you did that training for our two centres. That was really good for our staff. Then you provided all the equipment and we had everything we needed in the centre. Kiri, we have got so many worms and are selling so much worm juice. We have raised so much money we bought another worm farm. Anytime the staff forget or they don’t know how to do something, they just go to the Backyard in a Box resources and it shows them how to fix it.”
Jenny’s second centre is due to go through Assessment and Rating very soon and we look forward to hearing more about this journey.