YOUNG children at Dean Park Day Nursery are embarking on a journey to become sustainable citizens, as the pre-school launches a new eco-friendly project.

The Bournemouth-based nursery is working towards the Early Childhood Sustainable Citizenship Award, kick-starting the initiative by partnering with local artist, Iona Goldsmith.

During a recent visit to the seaside, Iona and the children explored the beach to discover washed up plastics and other pieces of litter, seeking out the smaller items that are often not picked up with the big beach clean machines.

After collecting three bountiful buckets of recyclable waste, the children returned to the nursery to showcase their creative skills to create a piece of art incorporating their findings.

Dean Park Day Nursery manager, Kelly Yates, said: “We are very excited about the launch of this innovative project, which will add great value to the children’s learning and understanding, enabling them to move forward as more sustainable citizens.

“When commencing this project, it was important for us to tie in with the ethos of the nursery – we are very focused on the outdoors, our outdoor setting is a real asset, and we want to extend the children’s knowledge on the importance of this environment.

“In terms of early childhood development and learning, I firmly believe in developing children’s understanding of interdependency, which begins with ourselves and about how we respect and care for each other, and the wider environment.”

As part of the initiative, Dean Park Day Nursery conducted a self-audit to determine what changes they can make and what can be done to support children’s learning and development. Each child will have their own ‘passport’, whereby they will work together with their parents and teachers to earn stickers when taking positive steps towards sustainability.