April 3, 2018
Earth Day is April 22! Why not celebrate this special day by taking the important steps for your program to earn an Eco-Friendly Achievement in Maryland EXCELS?
Maryland EXCELS recognizes several eco-friendly organizations that offer achievement certificates. Each opportunity has a distinct set of steps that involve you as a provider as well as education and awareness for the families and children you serve. Each program also varies in cost, length of award time, and amount of activities. Hopefully, you can find one that best fits your needs!
Eco-Healthy Child Care, a national initiative created by the Children’s Environmental Health Network, provides programs with an easy-to-understand checklist to help reduce health hazards found in a child care environment. The checklist also includes detailed instructions on how to follow through with each item on the list. This option ranges from $25 to $50, depending on the size of your program. Applicable to all child care program types.
Participate in a free Eco-Healthy Child Care® training session on April 5 to learn more about how to protect the children in your care from environmental hazards found in arts and crafts supplies.
Created and supported by the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE), the Maryland Green Schools Program trains, encourages and supports providers in their environmental sustainability. The organization also teaches providers how to encourage children to reduce their environmental impact. Applicable to public prekindergarten and before and after school-age programs ONLY.
The Nature Explore Classroom Certification, designed by a division of the Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, supports programs to create nature-based spaces for learning and play. This program, which is designed for providers with an outdoor space, emphasizes strong staff development and family involvement to expand environmental awareness within the community.
The National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA program is designed to involve children in the natural world through learning while expanding their environmental skills and understanding. This program emphasizes greening of existing facilities and incorporation of environmental learning and practices within the curriculum. Resources and support are strong, with an easy-to-use online handbook. This program is applicable to prekindergarten through school-age child care programs.
After you earn a certificate or endorsement through one of these available courses, you can post your document to your Maryland EXCELS account. Certificates or endorsements can be uploaded to the Achievements section of your Profile tab. Notify your Program Coordinator so they can review your documentation and award you the Eco-Friendly Additional Achievement badge.
By pursuing an Eco-Friendly Achievement, not only does your program benefit, but you help teach young children about keeping our planet healthy and being responsible stewards of the environment.
For more information about the Maryland EXCELS Eco-Friendly Achievement, visit here.