Here’s why we prioritise sustainability and outdoor learning at Little Locals

Here’s why we prioritise sustainability and outdoor learning at Little Locals.

Visit any of our centres, and you might see tomatoes ripening in a sunlit veggie patch, a plant watering guide pinned to the wall, or a humble worm farm squatting in our backyard.

You might notice solar panels, water tanks, timber furniture, wooden toys, compost and recycling bins, and rooms that welcome plenty of natural sunlight.

Nature, one of our favourite playgrounds, is also one of our favourite teachers at Little Locals.

Every day, we lightly and loosely discover the world around us, explore the environments and communities we live in, and learn how we can help to sustain life on earth for generations to come.

This is the basis of our one-of-a-kind sustainability program – Greener Minds – aligning our teaching and care with our passion to build a more sustainable future.

What is the Greener Minds Program?

Nature has a place in early childhood education, research shows, with many studies linking nature play to improved cognitive, behavioural, and physical development in children.

Our Greener Minds Program sees that nature is explored, valued and looked after in our daily interactions, activities and routines.

Designed by our educators for our educators, Greener Minds supports our teams’ commitment to sustainable practices and delivery of accurate, engaging and age-appropriate learning.

A child plays outdoors at Little Locals Early Learning, as part of the centre's sustainability in childcare program, Greener Minds.
Nurturing young minds

If you are wondering how a sustainability program can help your young learner, consider how children learn, and consider the very nature of, well, nature!

Outdoor and nature-themed play helps to:

  • encourage active lifestyles and improve physical health
  • develop fine and gross motor skills
  • build self-esteem and confidence
  • nurture social and communication skills
  • ensure learning is relevant and inspiring
  • encourage decision-making and problem-solving skills
  • nurture creativity and critical thinking
  • develop an appreciation and respect for nature
  • encourage sustainable living.
Give them a head start at school

Sustainability is now embedded in the Australian Curriculum. By familiarising your child with its concepts early, we are nurturing confident, active learners at school. Natural spaces provide stimulating, sensory-rich environments where children can be curious and learn through play, observation, and exploration.

Respect for the environment is in our DNA

From their very first day at our centres, children at Little Locals are encouraged to love their environments and embrace eco-friendly behaviours.

Gently guided by our educators, your child will learn why and how to:

  • conserve water (turn off taps)
  • conserve energy (turn off lights)
  • dispose waste mindfully
  • recycle
  • reuse items where possible
We lead by example

We make conscious environmental choices about the resources we use, and we are the first Early Learning group in Queensland to be Certified Carbon Neutral.

By purchasing a pocket of land in Indonesia as part of the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Project, we offset our unavoidable emissions and help protect one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world.

Little Locals have also partnered with Rainforest 4 Foundation to protect the Daintree Lowland Rainforest and the unique and endangered species that call this national treasure home.

We are helping to purchase a 10,200m² block of privately owned land in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest, so that it can become part of the Daintree National Park and protected forever.

Little Locals Early Learning Centre Manager Tim plants a tree in the Daintree Rainforest, upholding the centre’s ethos of practising sustainability in childcare.

Sustainability isn’t just a theme; it is a practice that puts children and their future first

Sustainability isn’t just a theme; it is a practice that puts children and their future first.
A group of children from Little Locals Early Learning Centre sits on a picnic rug during an outdoor excursion to learn more about sustainability and the environment.
Immersive learning

Outdoor play, excursions and child-led exploration into the world’s current environmental issues are just a few of the many immersive experiences we provide our young learners through Greener Minds.

Your child may take part in:

  • nurturing plants, gardens and vegetable patches
  • composting and recycling
  • caring for animals and worm farms
  • eco-themed and -friendly arts and crafts
  • nature-based activities and nature play
  • exploring community gardens, parks, and forests
  • interactive presentations from key community members.

Our educators are assessed and endorsed by Nature Play Queensland, meeting the necessary requirements to provide authentic, engaging outdoor learning.

Building communities

We build strong relationships in our local communities to encourage sustainability and support local businesses. We aim to nurture a community both within and outside of our centres which we believe is the first step for our children to begin cultivating a sense of belonging.

Some of our partnerships include:

  • local fruit shops to provide children and centre staff with fresh produce each week.
  • Kids Heart Pilates
  • Men’s Shed
  • Reverse Garbage Queensland
  • Nature Play Queensland
  • Local Council
A group of children from Little Locals Early Learning wear high-vis vests as they stand outdoors on a Bush Kindy excursion to learn more about sustainability and the environment.
Join our journey

At its heart, sustainability is a collaborative effort. That’s why we invite families to bring our Greener Minds philosophy into their own homes and share our vision for a sustainable future.

Of course, you can keep up to date with our experiences at Little Locals through our online Storypark platform.

Speak with one of our educators to learn more about our Greener Minds program and how your child can learn to embrace and respect nature through play, observation, and exploration.