human development and family studies

Transition Center, 2 Lower College Road, Kingston, RI 02881

401.874.2150 (ph); 401.874.4020 (f)

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Growing a new generation of environmental lovers


According to Major Waste Disposal, the average American throws away 4.5 pounds of trash every day. To visualize how much trash that is, you would need a 100-mile-deep hole the size of a football field to store just one year of trash thrown away in the United States. The world is in general consensus that trash disposal is becoming an immediate and costly danger for the planet and for humans.

Imagine a world where children from a very young age are taught what and how to recycle and how to take care of the earth. Where pre-school rooms are decorated with art projects that are built of entirely recycled materials, children are in charge of taking care of the plants, old cups and food containers and turning them into art utensils.

You do not have to look too far, located on lower college road lies the Child Development Center. The Child Development Center is committed to teaching their preschoolers to reduce, reuse and recycle in experiential ways.

Jessica McLeod, director of the Child Development Center, has been using a widespread curriculum that seeks to make recycling and caring for the earth a part of their everyday experiences. The Center uses books, language and hands on activities to promote and encourage active waste management.

Some of the more creative solutions include going to recycling centers to collect thrown away materials to use for art projects, putting dried up markers into water to make homemade watercolors and doing campus walks while picking up litter off the ground. The Center hopes to be able to integrate waste management to the children in both their home and their school to make it as immersive as possible

“We ask families to send in some materials to help make those connections at home,” said MacLeod. “While reducing, reusing and recycling is a central component of what we do at school we want to foster these home-school connections and some consistency between the messages children receive at home and at school and it can become part of the family routine.”

Susan Keefe, teacher at the Child and Development Center as well as an instructor for HDF 301 Early Childhood Curriculum, has been not only teaching the kids, but teaching her college students how to incorporate these environmental lessons. The goal is to help future educators understand that recycling and caring for the environment is a large part of science. She hopes to also teach her students how to bring these lessons into school systems that do not have structured recycling programs.

“This is your earth and it’s our earth and you will learn now from when you are three or five how to take care of this earth forever and ever and learn to love this earth and how it can be such a great place for you and everyone else. It is your responsibility, and it’s my responsibility

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