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Dubai eco nursery helps children learn the value of recycling

2015-08-05 08:53:40

Serving Dubai for the past four years, Home Grown has become more than just an eco nursery teaching children how to recycle. It has become a community waypoint for waste management.

Before Dubai Municipality installed recycling bins in the neighbourhood of Al Safa, the nursery was the only recycling collection point available to the community. Today, it still serves that role, but to a lesser extent.

“Now houses have recycling chutes, but we still provide a collection service for parents that are working in offices, so we tell them to bring their office paper,” said Beverly Jatwani, an Indian who cofounded Home Grown.

The nursery uses these materials in the Green Engagement programme, where children use materials intended for the trash to make art.

Aside from using these materials in its in-house student projects, the nursery also organises drives to raise awareness about recycling.

Choosing a different recyclable each month, Home Grown prompts parents to collect and bring in items as it alternates between glass, paper, plastics, etc.

“Central to our ethos is getting the parents involved,” Ms Jatwani said. “We can do it here in the nursery, but if we want to extend this green way of thinking it needs to be done at home, and enforced constantly.

“The reason why we involve parents is that we can’t do it single-handedly. We can do it here at the nursery, at different stages in a child’s life, but after they leave the nursery they need more from their parents,” she said.

Donna Gosling’s two children have been attending Home Grown since it opened in 2011, and she has seen a positive change.

“My daughter has moved on from Home Grown to school, and with that foundation now it is more about educating on what to do,” she said.

Future generations should be held responsible for conscious waste management and children need to learn early the importance of recycling, Ms Jatwani said.

“This is about building a foundation,” she said. “More so, they will talk about it and they are more aware of it.”

Rashika Chainani, a British expatriate and mother of two, said it was never too early to teach children good habits.

“I think the habits you learn as a child are what you will take with you the rest of your life,” she said. “A lot more can be done in the UAE in terms of having that presence of recycling – just by giving people the option of where to throw their rubbish.”

Ms Chainani said there are other measures as well as education to get people to be more environmentally friendly, such as making recycling mandatory in the workplace.