Discovery Child Care Centre:
2013 Small Business Hometown Heroes Winner
Discovery Child Care Centre is an Eco-Healthy certified licensed child care centre that brings nature into the classroom and takes the classroom into nature. Their commitment to creating a healthy environment for children in their care, their families, staff, and the community sets them apart from other licensed child care programs.
Discovery Child Care Centre’s two locations are maintained by organic methods, with no pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or insecticides used on the premises. They use environmentally friendly cleaners, blue box recycling, practice water conservation by using rain barrels, and use the green bin and compost as well. They are the first licensed child care centres in Ontario to be Bullfrog Powered using 100% renewable energy. Both centres have a no idle parking policy, as well, one of the sites has geothermal heating/cooling and will have solar panels installed this year.
In addition to having environmentally sustainable sites, Discovery Child Care Centre brings environmental philosophies into the classrooms through hands on learning. The children learn how to reduce, re-use, recycle and compost and about water conservation. They are also actively involved in their own organic gardens and harvest what they have grown to make jams, pickles and salsa. At the end of the growing season, the children donate a portion of the fresh, organic harvest to the Barrie Community Food Bank.
As part of Discovery Child Care Centre’s commitment to connecting children with nature, children spend a minimum of two hours outside every day. The children are given the opportunity to interact with items found in nature, encouraging them to become stewards of the earth. Discovery Child Care Centre’s nature classroom project is the first Nature Explore Certified Classroom in Canada, earning it international recognition.
Discovery Child Care Centre has been well received and has won many environmental, community and business leadership awards, such as the City of Barrie Award for Business of the Year, Environmental Action Barrie awards, and Bell Canada Green Awards. Their environmental programming has been featured in Childcare Today Magazine and Seneca College Alumni Magazine. Discovery Child Care Centre’s founder, Karen Eilersen, shares her knowledge of setting up an eco-friendly child care business and the importance of connecting children to nature by presenting at various child care conferences and was the keynote speaker at the Humber College Places of Natural Discovery Conference for early childhood educators.
Earth Day Canada (EDC), a national environmental charity founded in 1990, provides Canadians with the practical knowledge and tools they need to support a healthier environment. We educate, empower and inspire Canadians of all ages and backgrounds to achieve local solutions to improve the state of the environment through our suite of year-round and award-winning programs.
The success of EDC programs—focused on education, action, recognition and financial support—lies in the fact that they teach Canadians about simple, easy-to-accomplish actions that any person can do.