Follow the little leaders on water
“MY mum was in the shower for a very long time, so I had to tell her to get out and not use so much water,” local pre-schooler Phillipa explained to Dubbo Photo News this week.
Phillipa is a student in the Wallaby Room at Rainbow Cottage Childcare Centre and was very involved with her teacher, Mel Proberts, in introducing shower-timers to her classmates aged three-and-a-half to five years old.
“Each student has taken one home, but we’ll use them with activities here too. When they’re relaxing for example, we’ll use the timer so they can see how long five minutes actually is and learn what it means to go over time in the shower,” Mrs Proberts told Dubbo Photo News.
“It all started off a couple of months ago when we saw something in the news about how low the Dam was. We’ve got kids here who used to just stand at the sink running the water, so we thought, okay, we really need to knock this on the head,” she said.
A water saving plan about washing hands at the sink was introduced, along with signs above the toilet cisterns highlighting which button to push when appropriate.
“We’ve involved the kids in making all the rules and the restrictions, so they know, and they’re engaged and they’re more accountable for it,” Mrs Proberts said.
“Not long after we introduced the signs, we had a little boy who walked out of the bathroom, then turned around and walked back in, and walked back out saying, ‘Oh no! I pressed the number two. I wasted water.’
“They’re pretty cluey. They’re really picking it up and if they can take that message home to their parents and their other siblings, it might help to get that message out into the community just that little bit more.”
Education lessons using a smart board, and art activities such as drawing shower timers and making paper water droplets to include a water saving tip of their own, are among the variety of activities engaging the children.
They also went on excursion to Burrendong Dam to see the situation there first-hand.
“We sat on top of the boat ramp, and I explained to them that when I was a child I used to camp in that area and the water was just there. Now the water was about 400 metres down further.
“To a little kids’ eyes, it looks like a lot of water, but when they see the photo of what it used to be and what it is now, it makes it more tangible. We explained the water goes down the Macquarie River and Dubbo gets water from there and if we waste it here there won’t be anything left,” Mrs Proberts said.
The children are involved in watering the garden on specified days and times according to current water restrictions, and at the end of the day, they use leftover drink bottle water to pour on the plants, rather than down the sink.
Water play is a childcare staple activity and it still occurs but under restrictions, on specific days and in limited amounts, so once the water is gone for that day, the activity is over.
“They’re treasuring that resource just a little bit more,” Mrs Proberts said.
Emma Taylor and Thea Coles at Rainbow Cottage Childcare Centre where the kids are learning valuable lessons about saving water.
DUBBO WELLINGTON & SURROUNDING AREA WATER RESTRICTIONS