Fol­low the lit­tle lead­ers on wa­ter

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By YVETTE AUBUSSON-FO­LEY

“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.


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