Green Beginning Community Preschool

Los Angeles, CA

From its inception in 2010, Green Beginning Community Preschool (GBCP), LLC was created with the environment and children in mind. Our primary mission is to help families raise children in an environmentally conscious community. The only way to create a world that doesn’t need protecting is by fostering love and respect for our planet in the minds of young children who will grow up to be the leaders of tomorrow. Our vision statement reflects the values that we stand by and there is a shared understanding within GBCP and our families that our actions TODAY can affect the conditions of our planet tomorrow.  
GBCP is the first true environmentally friendly preschool in Los Angeles. We are  committed to raising socially and globally responsible children. Our hope in the educational area is to become a model for other schools to follow not only at the preschool level, but beyond. As educators we hold the vision of our planet united in harmony and children are gently guided under a simple principle: respect for themselves, others, nature and all things in general. 
Our eco‐friendly practices are embedded in our program, which encompasses 
children between the ages of 12 months to 6 years of age. This is how we go about 
implementing our mission: 
Planting gardens: Children and teachers take part in planting fruit and vegetable gardens throughout the school. Our crops are seasonal with many opportunities to learn about each and every one of the crops we plant. We feel that when children are involved in the process from planting a seed, to watering, to tending and enjoying 
the harvested food, they acquire a level of respect for living things and appreciation 
for the food that sustains us and is healthy for our bodies.  
Composting: Each meal we share with the children is an opportunity for them to learn about composting. Each table has a compost container for the children to deposit their veggies and fruit scraps, which at the end of each meal gets emptied in our main school compost bin by the “Composter” of the day, a job that the children see as very special and look forward to do. Besides playing and learning about worms and de-­‐composting creatures, the children also take part in turning it and sifting the soil. Therefore, experiencing first hand the whole composting cycle. We use the same compost for our plants and gardens.

Earth Day: Even though every day is Earth day at Green Beginning, once a week we have an official Earth Day celebration. Earth Day is our community gathering day where the entire school gathers to sing songs about the earth, read books and stories that speak about protecting the environment. The children also engage into special earth day activities such as recycling art, watering and trimming the plants and sorting recyclables. Each classroom has a designated “Earth Ranger” who is our super hero of the day. The earth rangers wear a special cape with the image of the earth on the back, and bring a healthy snack for the children in his/her class. The earth rangers’ job is to protect the environment and helps others.

Recycling: Although recycling is part of our everyday life at Green Beginning, on Earth day the entire student body brings recyclables from home in their own reusable bag. Part of the earth day activities is then to have the children sort and learn about the different types of materials that are recyclable. Once all of the recyclables are sorted they are deposited in the different recycling bins. The children look forward to recycling week after week.

Zero Lunch Trash Policy: Upon being accepted into the school parents commit to our zero lunch trash policy. Children bring lunches in 100% reusable containers, which include utensils and napkins.

Reusing/Repurposing: Almost 100% of our educational material is either made by us from recyclable materials or acquired through Craigslist or from families who do not use specific materials anymore at their home, e.g., egg cartons, paper towel/toilet paper rolls, yogurt cups for paints and even toys and furniture. This is our way of saying “NO” to consumerism and elongate the life of the materials. Once we cannot use the materials anymore, they are either recycled or donated to children’s organizations where they can live a little longer.

We are grateful to our families and friends for this special nomination. If we win, we will use the prize to purchase new shade sails for our playground.