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Eco-friendly Child Care Course
Welcome!The number one focus of any child care program should be the children's overall health, safety and well-being, including physical, social, mental and environmental aspects.
Purpose & Goal of the Earth-Friendly Child Care CourseBecoming more aware of effective environmental friendly cleaning methods and practicesLocating the best products and services that will support this endeavorSharing what you have learned with others
How this Course Will Benefit You Education and Certification opportunitiesAdministrators and child care providers seeking yearly professional development hours may benefit by earning 8 clock hours for this course. This certification is valid for 3 years at which time re-certification requirements may also be achieved with completion of the re-certification course.Upon the successful completion of this course, all applicants will earn a certificate and be qualified as a ‘certified green childcare provider.’ Administrators of childcare facilities may display a banner certifying that their center is “Green and Eco-friendly.”
Before Beginning This CoursePlease read: I promise to learn all that I can from this course, knowing that it will help me make changes in my life that will contribute to the solution of our environmental problem. I am committed to these earth-friendly changes, and I will do whatever I can to help others become educated about green living, so they too can make green, eco-friendly, healthy choices.
UNIT ONE: Our Health in Danger & The Growing ConcernsChildren are especially sensitive during their formative years to environmental hazardsExposure to any of these hazards can have an adverse impact on their development and potential to live a healthy, long lifeThis course of study will help you identify these hazards and offer green solutions to avoid them altogether
What Parents ExpectParents are now questioning:the type of cleaning products the center usesif there is a need for a pesticide programhow air quality is managedwhat toys and other plastics are used to assure no lead or phthalates are presentIf the arts and crafts supplies contain no toxins
UNIT TWO: LAYING THE FOUNDATIONPrior to the technological period in the history of mankind, all products used for cleaning, disinfecting, and pest control were:environmentally friendlysaferelatively non toxiceasy to make from basic materials on hand
Many Technological advancements took placeApplications of chemicals in agricultural practices opened the door for chemical cleaning suppliesPeople moved into the cities, giving up the agricultural lifestylePollution in the air, land and water followedDiseases like cholera and typhus broke outCleaning and disinfecting chemicals were bornBRIEF HISTORY OF THECHEMICAL REVOLUTION
Dangers of ChemicalsThere are both short and long term risks of exposure to chemical cleaners.Chemical companies are not required to list all ingredients on the label.Product labels will only note ingredients as being irritating, caustic, flammable, or poisonous, but will not express the potential dangers.Enforcement of labeling laws is weak, which may allow for inaccurate information that is misleading and unclear.Chemical effects of cleaning and disinfecting products do not stay isolated to the container.Breathing the vapors can be rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin and lungs.Many people experience a burning in the throat or eyes after using common household cleaners.When the empty container is tossed into the trash, leakage can end up in the water supply.
ACTIVITYTake this interactive tour and explore the products in each room, then list below six different household products shown in the tour that contained toxic ingredients.Click here: http://www.epa.gov/kidshometour/index.htm
UNIT 3: MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT CLEANERS AND DISINFECTANT PRODUCTS
MYTH #1: All cleaning products on the market are tested and are safe to use in our homes.There are over 50,000 synthetic chemicals produced, of which 300 have been tested, and 5 restricted. Manufacturers are not required to test cleaning products for safety and health risks.MYTH #2: Cleaning products on the market that have a pine or lemon scent have only natural ingredients.Most commercial cleaning products on the market are made from petrochemicals, may contain bacterial and insecticide ingredients, and release dangerous gases into the environment. Some contain very strong pine and lemon scent that mask the underlying dangerous chemicals. A product with a lemon or pine scent does not guarantee all natural and safe ingredients.
MYTH #3: Chemicals of a small quantity found in commercial cleaners have no negative health effects.An increasing number of scientists and doctors are now admitting that exposure to small amounts of toxic chemicals have an adverse effects on the body in the short term and also in the long term. People who suffer from respiratory problems are even more prone to have distress if exposed to many of the chemicals on the market.Read this ABC News article on the immediate effect of commercial cleaners at an elementary school.http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/AmericanFamily/story?id=1200774&page=1MYTH: #4: Green cleaners are not as effective as conventional cleaners in killing germs and viruses.Quite the contrary! There are many effective plant based ingredients that destroy germs, viruses and bacteria. Essential oils like lemon, melaleuca (tee-tree) and thyme oil have been shown through research and trials to kill viruses like MRSA, TB, and so forth.
MYTH #5: All green cleaners are more expensive than non-green cleaners.While some brands of green cleaners can be costly, there are other manufacturers that provide green cleaners in bulk that is cost effective and offers a great value. Our preferred brand comes in bulk quantity that offers a great savings over most other brands.MYTH #6: Commercial Cleaning products can be mixed. Mixing common commercial household cleaning products can be extremely dangerous. For example, never mix acidic products (vinegar, for example) with alkaline products (bleach) The effects can be deadly.MYTH #7: MYTH #7: All great smelling surfaces are clean.The smell of a surface does not determine how clean it is. Most smells are from scented perfumes or natural oils that are added to cleaning products. Scented and unscented products clean the same. Fragrances can trigger asthmatic or allergic reaction, especially in small children.
MYTH #8: Using more cleaners and disinfectant is better.Most of the all-purpose cleaners are too concentrated for ordinary household cleaning. Using more of a product can actually cause an excessive residue build-up, leaving surfaces sticky, and be difficult to rinse. Follow the directions and use only the recommended amounts indicated. MYTH #9: Cleaning and disinfecting are the same thing.Cleaning products remove dirt and grime, which can help prevent the spread of infection. Disinfectants remove disease- and infection-causing bacteria, fungi, and viruses. They both have a place in eco-friendly cleaning practices.MYTH # 10: All countries have similar laws governing the use of chemicals for household use.The manner in which chemical products are regulated varies within countries and across borders and is dependent upon a variety of factors. For example, the US labels hand sanitizers as drugs and is regulated by the FDA. Disinfectants are regulated by the EPA and are regarded as pesticides. In EU, the REACh legislation evaluates chemical products for human and environmental safety before allowed on the market.Watch this very informative video to help you understand the dangers and hazards that are associated with common commercial cleaning and disinfecting products.VIDEO LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yMKg4vzyvk
The Bottom Line is This:Rather than have to worry about the potential hazards found in using commercial products, just start using safer products. This is a smart choice for you and everyone else around you.
Definition of Child Care ProviderA green child care provider has a satisfactory understanding of what are safe products and practices to provide a healthy, clean environment. The provider consciously chooses to use only eco-friendly products and perform environmentally friendly practices for the welfare of all who come to the center.
Definition of Eco-friendly Child Care Services and ProductsSustainable products are used to provide environmental, social and economic benefits while protecting public health and environment over their whole life cycle, from the extraction of raw materials until the final disposal. They:Are biodegradableAre phosphate- and chlorine-freeCome from renewable plant materials, instead of petrochemicals
UNIT FOUR:Growing Green Movement
It's A Matter Of ChoiceThere is an expression that states "what goes around comes around". This means that what you put into something is what you get out of it. Decisions regarding the care of our planet will determine whether we reap positive or negative results.
The Green Movement Takes RootThe first Green Movement emerged whenYellowstone National Park was established in 1872. Conservation groups, such as the National Audubon a society in 1886 and the Sierra Club in 1892 recognized the need to preserve wildlife, land, water and air quality.
The Green Movement GrowsRachel Carson's book, Silent Spring, written in 1962, brought the devastating affects of chemical pesticides into the global limelight, targeting DDT specifically. A year later, congress would pass the Clean Air Act and ratify the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty that would end the testing of nuclear weapons underwater, in the atmosphere and in space.
Global Green MovementThe USDA develops the National Organic Program to regulate organic food production in 2002. Wind power starts to be developed across the world, with tax credits being offered in the US. Focus on cutting greenhouse gas emissions is boosted, in an effort to combat the alarming climate changes felt worldwide.
Chemical RegulationsChemical products continue to be regulated, but the method and extent varies within countries and across borders and is dependent upon a variety of factors. the US labels hand sanitizers as drugs and is regulated by the FDA. Disinfectants are regulated by the EPA and are regarded as pesticides. In EU, the REACh legislation evaluates chemical products for human and environmental safety before allowed on the market.
Join The Green MovementYes, the Green Movement is actively pursuing ways and means to guarantee clean air, clean water, fertile soil and healthy food now and for future generations. Your study and application of this Green Child Care Course contributes to the Green Movement.
UNIT FIVE:SAFE CLEANING &DISINFECTING PRODUCTS
BASIC CLEANING RULESRULE #1: use EPA registered cleaning and disinfectant productsRULE #2: follow manufacture's instructions for dilution or contact informationRULE #3: label cleaners and disinfectants properlyRULE #4: dispose of cleaning containers according to EPA regulations and city ordinancesRULE #5: be careful of what, where and how you mix ingredients. Please see this PDF for an Eco-friendly Child Care Checklist. http://www.gogreenratingscale.org/pdfs/CleanDisinfectChecklist.pdf
SEVEN Basic Eco-friendly Cleaning Ingredients
BAKING SODA (Sodium Bicarbonate)LIQUID SOAP (Vegetable Oil Based, Castile, Glycerine)WHITE DISTILLED VINEGAR (acetic Acid)LEMON OR LIME JUICE (Natural Acidic Cleaner)SALT (Sodium Chloride)PURIFIED WATER (Distilled or Purified WaterESSENTIAL OILS (Anti-microbial benefits)
Other Natural Disinfecting ProductsBleach - as guided by city ordinancesBoraxHydrogen PeroxideLye water
BASIC FORMULASAll-Purpose CleanerLiquid hand-dishwashing detergent, such as Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds, which is one of the best all-purpose liquid detergents. It rates at the top environmentally, and has a pleasant natural pine scent. Use 1 teaspoon for an 8-ounce spray bottle of water. It is very easy to rinse and doesn't leave any sticky residue.Add to this base: 1 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar and 1 teaspoon borax. Fill the rest of the bottle with hot water to dissolve the borax. You may add a few drops of an essential oil if you like. This all-purpose cleaner will clean all surfaces.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner1/2 cup liquid soap2 cups baking sodaUse a fork to remove any lumps. Add 1/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar to dilute. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon Tea Tree Oil. Place in a squirt bottle. Shake before each use.
Natural Furniture Polish8 ounce squirt bottle3/4 cup Olive oil1/4 cup white distilled vinegar1/4 teaspoon lemon oil -optionalAdd oil and vinegar to bottle. Add lemon or other essential oil last. Shake well. Squirt the mixture onto a terry cloth. The Olive oil is healthy for the wood. For dirty furniture use more vinegar. Shake well before each use.
UNIT SIX: AIR QUALITY & PESTICIDE PROGRAM
Air Quality TipsThe importance of air quality cannot be underestimatedOver the years, a significant increase of asthmatics, allergic conditions, weakened immune systems and respiratory infections have been experienced worldwideYoung children are most vulnerableThe #1 air fresheners available that is absolutely free is fresh air
INDOOR HOUSEPLANTS PURIFY AIRHang English Ivy plants out of reach of children to absorb gas exhaust fumes from heaters, ovens, and automobiles. Chrysanthemum flowers can be placed on high shelves and cabinets to absorb any harmful effects of new carpets and paint.Spider plants placed on the desk or top shelf are excellent at absorbing formaldehyde that out gases from furniture, books, and other materials. They also absorb exhaust fumes so hang some in the windowsVariegated Pothos Plants, Gerbera daisies, dieffenbachias, bamboo palms and peace lilies are also known air-filtering plants,
NATURAL ODOR ABSORBERSDISTILLED WHITE VINEGAR SPRAYIt is easy to make eco-friendly air fresheners that will absorb odors, not just cover them up. In an 8-ounce fine mist spray bottle add distilled water and 20-30 drops of you essential oil of choice. Shake well before using. Spray when children are not present, as vinegar can be a mild eye irritant. The fresh scent will last a while. Keep spray bottle out of reach of little hands. An extra one by the diaper changing area can make the experience more pleasant.
VANILLA EXTRACTPlace cotton balls soaked in vanilla extract in a pretty jar and store out of reach of children. This simple method will bring pleasant olfactory rewards for a long time.BAKING SODAHaving an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator to absorb odors is well known. Place the baking soda powder in a pretty box, add about 5-20 drops of your preferred essential oil, mix well and set on a high shelf. This will keep a room smelling clean and fresh for quite a while.
ECO TIP: To improve air quality, consider an air purifying unit. Provide adequate ventilation to eliminate airborne microbial diseases. Avoid wearing scented lotions or strong perfumes. They can trigger an allergic reaction ini some people. ACTIVITY: in one minute list as many natural methods as possible for freshening the air.
PESTICIDE PROGRAMSynthetic pesticides are very effective, quick acting and are cheap to use but very toxic and dangerous to use around humans. When using green alternatives, don't expect the same "instant" results. The alternatives to synthetics are not true insecticides, but they can be effective in knocking them back. Try different recipes to see what is most effective for your needs.
Ant Treatments#1. Soap and water in a spray bottle is a very effective spray on ants. It stops them in their tracks. If you can trace them back to where they are coming in this will help. Otherwise, you must continue spraying until they decide to leave.#2. As an ant prevention treatment, use a spray with peppermint essential oil. They will stay away from the scent as long as it is there. Dilute drops of the oil in water and shake well. Spray around baseboards, corners, behind hard-to-reach areas and wherever you see the ant trail entering the building. This may require repeated spraying to keep them at bay.If the diluted peppermint spray isn't as effective as you would like, try dabbing undisputed peppermint oil on a cotton ball and swabbing the area they are entering in. The will become confused and scatter. Remove any remaining ants to destroy the trail scent.#3. A little deterrence goes a long way. Divert the ants away from your building by putting some food outside for them to eat. Use a container that has holes in it for the ants to get into away from the children’s play area. Move the container a little at a time, so as to make an ant trail to follow where you want them to go.
COCKROACHESIt has been said that cockroaches will survive nuclear war. These dark-loving, stealthy, armored insects will find their way in any available opening. To keep them out implement a caulking and sealing maintenance program around doors, windows, exteriors basements and walls, water pipes and electrical wiring. Keep the learning environment clean of any food debris. This will require frequent, daily sweeping and cleaning, especially in eating areas. There are non-toxic roach traps available.
CONTROLLING MICEThe telltale signs of mouse droppings can be a serious problem. There are non-toxic ways to deal with these pests, rather than poisonous bait. The bait is always risky when children are around. You never know when one might, out of curiosity, pick up the bait and try a taste. If it can kill a mouse, what can it do to a young child? Live bait traps are the most humane way to trap mice. Just google it and you will find a variety to choose from to meet your requirements. Teaching children how to handle pests humanely is a wonderful way to instill respect for all life and compassion at such a young age.
HOUSE PLANT PESTSMost plant pests, such as aphids and spider mites can be controlled simply by mixing some liquid detergent and water in a spray bottle and spraying the mixture directly on the bugs. Adding a few drops of peppermint oil will also help stop the pests from damaging your plants. Be sure to spray when children are not present so there is no risk of it getting on them.
ECO TIP: Educate yourself about the pests you have and research options for treatment and potential health risks. Look for best preventative methods to keep the pesky critters away.ACTIVITY: Explain in ten words or less why it is dangerous to use chemical pesticides in a green child care program.
UNIT SEVEN: PROPER HYGIENE & MILDEW CONTROL
Proper HygieneHelps deter spreading sickness and diseasesLittle hands touch lots of things. Fresh air and frequent hand washing will keep the spread of sickness down. Spray items that are frequently touched on a regular basis.A basic cleaning spray with liquid detergent and water helps keep germs to a minimumFor more germ killing power, add drops of essential oils such as lemon and tea tree oil.
ACTIVITY: list sicknesses and diseases that threaten children and staff in public places that green sanitation practices can help keep at bay.ECO TIP: Practicing daily hygiene and using sanitizing sprays will help your center provide a healthy learning environment for all. Avoid using anti-bacterial soaps, wipes and lotions. This includes waterless hand sanitizers.
PREVENTING MOLD & MILDEW GROWTHTwo,best natural methods for keeping mold growth under control is sunshine and dry air. Make it a daily practice to air out rooms with fresh air. Not only will this simple, free practice chase away any microbes carrying sickness or disease, it will keep mold growth at bay. Undisputed, vinegar spray can be very useful for managing molds.
ECO TIP: As a general practice, inspect the building for water leaks every three months. This would include evaluating water pipes, hot water heaters, under sinks, ceilings, doors and windows for any possible leaks.ACTIVITY: find a green solution to the following scenario. You notice that the storage closet developed a slow leak and two walls are now covered with mildew. What is your plan of action to clean it up?
UNIT EIGHT: SUPPLIES, FIXTURES& FOOD ALLERGEN CONCERNS
TOYS, SUPPLIES & FIXTURESMake it a goal to only buy quality, non-toxic, safe, environmentally-friendly toys and other products, including any other necessary supplies made out of plastics. Preschoolers who were exposed to phthalates in the womb are noted to have low behavioral, mental, and motor development in the preschool years. There is even evidence that exposure to plastics and lead can contribute to autism,me high is affecting 1 in 68 children in 2014.
Avoid lead-based paint, which was banned for use since 1973. Remove or repaint any peeling paint.Be on guard for any lead-contaminated water.Guarantee any arts and crafts supplies clearly state that they are non-toxic. Once the activity is finished, put supplies away and have students wash their hands. Be sure to wash all surfaces where arts and craft supplies are used.Look for energy efficient light fixtures. Turn off lights during the day whenever possible, take advantage of natural lighting.Be mindful of avoiding pressure-treated lumber, as it contains an EPA approved pesticide with inorganic arsenic to prevent decay and insect damage. There is risk of leakage into the surrounding soil and skin contact.Pay attention to how furniture is manufactured and verify there are no hazardous chemicals that could out gas over time. Consider buying natural wood products. They may cost more upfront, but will not release toxins over time and last for years with proper care. A Few Tips Concerning Other Supplies
ECO TIP: To be environmentally minded regarding plastics and other synthetic materials, consider phasing out plastic toys, bottles, and other high-use products that have potential of releasing harmful toxins. Toys and other products made from quality wood or other renewable resources may be more expensive of an investment up front, but it will be well worth it to contribute to a healthy eco-friendly environment.ACTIVITY: think back to how people lived before the chemical revolution. List as many ways as possible that people stored food and other belongings. What are some practical alternatives to plastic that can be used today?
FOOD ALLERGEN CONCERNSThere are a few points to bear in mind for the safety of all students in the facility:Do not allow food sharing of any kind.Require face and hand washing before and after any food is serves, such as snack or meal time? Make sure students are monitored and carefully observed while eating in case of an allergic reaction and have any necessary allergic medication readily available.Assure all craft and art supplies are non-toxic.Educate your staff in the requirements if the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title II or Title III (http://www.ada.gov/childq%26a.htm), where medication must be administered in case of an allergic reaction. The ADA also requires a day care facility to admit children with life-threatening, severe allergies.
Eco Tip: Earn the reputation of being an Eco-friendly Day Care Center or educational facility who is mindful of healthy food choices so that you children can receive proper nutrition in order to function and learn at their optimal level.ACTIVITY: create a flyer that promotes healthy food snacks that could be sent home with parents to help them make better choices for their children.
UNIT NINE: RRR
REDUCE, REUSE, & RECYCLEThe concept of reusing and recycling has been a common throughout man's history.With the Industrial Revolution came an increase in goods and services available, stimulating an even greater need to recycle.Some products can be recycled for less expense that making new ones.Whenever society has been faced with a shortage of materials, recycling and reusing and recycling practices increase.Implement basic recycling and reuse practices.
Eco Tip: Don't delay. Get involved in taking ownership for all the things that are at your center. Teach the positive character trait of responsibility by helping others learn to reduce, reuse and recycle things too. Together, we can make a difference. ACTIVITY: divide the following items into the correct category of reduce, reuse, and recycle (milk jugs, toilet paper rolls, plastic thank you bags, left over fruits, aseptic fruit juice containers, paper, rubber bands, and glass jars). Have fun!
UNIT 10: TRAIN OTHERS TO BE ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE
Pass It OnAs a caring individual, we hope you will recognize the value in educating others toward taking their share of responsibility in guarding our children and planet earth from more harm and injury. We challenge you to help our children achieve their full potential, to give them every opportunity to inherit a healthy place to live and grow and have a family of their own one day.
Eco Tip: Take this training program and share the information with others. It is like the ripple effect. These simple practices can be learned and passed onto others, so eventually we will live in a world where earth-friendly practices become normal and the universal custom of all.ACTIVITY: Look at this course as just the beginning of a training program to make you a premier Eco-friendly Educational administrator. Providing the healthiest learning environment possible for yourself, your staff and the children within your care is so very important. You have proven this by completing this course.