Jack in A Box Playgroup atWesley Memorial Methodist Church
Birth – 4 years with a mix of parents, grandparents, foster carers, child minders
The playgroup meet once a week on a Wednesday morning (term time) and have been part of the Church/community for some 25 years plus.
For the last 4 years, the group has continued to grow and to be encouraged in our ways to be greener, in all our ways. It is hoped that the ongoing small changes we make as we learn from each other, will also encourage these changes in the home and with the next generation of children growing up.
The group started by planting a nature garden in one of the raised beds in the church grounds. We involved the local wildlife group in our planning to make way for things such as hedgehog highways and well as wanting to create a healthy habitat for all visiting wildlife- free from pesticides and chemicals for the nearby fruit trees and bushes and including a bug hotel. The children add new pinecones and canes and sticks at the end of summer ready for the bugs and insects to shelter in once the colder weather comes but they do wander around the grounds as we are blessed with a beautiful garden full of shrubs, trees and lawn. Every year we encourage the children to plant their own tomatoes, sunflower seeds and wild flower seeds as part of the session.
We celebrate and advertise days such as Earth Day, Earth Hour etc but try and do something once a term to encourage little steps in our greener journey all of the time. We shop for resources using charity shop finds and the Facebook marketplace to buy preloved items.Eco church have ideas for children's activities that we have used and adapted where necessary to fit in with the age group. Craft times is one of the hardest things to plan as many items although reused, can not be recycled afterwards. So this is planned with careful thought in ways we can always do things greener. The parents/carers planned a swop shop of baby and children's items before Christmas that proved very successful. They hope to organise one again after Easter as a way of reusing and recycling.
Wesley Memorial is a fairtrade church providing everything from tea, coffee, to eco-washing up liquid and recycled toilet paper. Each year the church congregation sponsor the fairtrade advent calendars and chocolate eggs as part of the Christmas and Easter celebrations. We also have a well- stocked fairtrade shop on the Church premises that is open throughout each playgroup session. This led onto the playgroup policy of not purchasing any foods or items whereby palm oil was used unless it was from a sustainable source. We are currently setting up a mini refil station whereby families can fill up their fairtrade eco washing liquid and hand wash.
Snacktime – fruit is provided (usually seasonal and from the UK. We buy loose fruit where we can). We have milk delivered in bottles each week. Home cooked cakes/flap jack/biscuits are provided but occasionally we do have shop bought items such as bread sticks and biscuits. The majority of shop bought foods are try organic. We have contacts for terracycling should we buy any products in packaging but we recycle whenever is necessary.
The room that we use in church is oil heated in the colder months. We always ensure that the thermostat is turned down to a lower setting each morning when we come in but sadly there's not a great deal we can do about this unfortunately. We have had some discussions that a small group of us form a working group to see about the prospects of applying for grants for solar panels for the church roof space. We need to gather momentum with the Church Council for this.
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