Raising the Green Flag at Respond’s Pre-school in Flinters, Athy, Co Kildare

Back Row L to R: Andrea Casey, Minister Jimmy Deenihan, Caroline Redmond.
Front Row L to R: Alexandra Drewett & Tony Walsh.

Congratulations to Tiny Tots Preschool service, located at Flinters Place, Athy, Co Kildare who are the first Preschool in Kildare to acquire the green flag status.This is a fantastic achievement for the centre and has spurred the whole community into thinking green.

Caroline Redmond who is the Childcare Manager located at Flinters, has written the following account on Flinters Tiny Tots Green Recycling Flag Journey:

Tiny Tots applied to An Taisce to enter their Green Pre schools programme in October 2012 and we didn’t realise at the time, what a brilliant programme it was, and how much our preschool children loved doing it.

We started off in November with a large red bin,  for Recycling, and a white bin for waste, as the weeks progressed we started to do a little extra, to help the children understand and make it more enjoyable for everyone. e.g. we stuck items that could be recycled on to the red recycling bin.

The children absolutely loved it and even the parents were intrigued, which lead to one of the dad’s sharing one of his childhood memories about a person called ‘Litterbug Doug’. We then introduced Litterbug Doug to our service.

Then came along our Litter Guards, these went to look where litterbug Doug had been and marked it on a special map, this helped us identify where the litter black spots were in the centre.

We now have a recycling team which are made out of the materials that we put in the bin;

Michael Recycle was now a small green bin

Sloppy Poppy was now a small pink bin,

Bernie Battery came about, when we were reading the ‘Kildare Nationalist’ and found a way we could help terminally ill children, by collecting used batteries, we have lots of toys in the preschool that takes batteries, so we sent off to ‘LauraLynn’ charity for a box. Introducing: Bernie Battery.

Betty Bottle:  We searched together and the children picked out a character and we stuck a bottle in her hand. Introducing: Betty Bottle.

Compost Chris: was our next character to be introduced, as children were bringing in loads of fruit & veg for lunch, some children had a compost bin at home, and said that their mammy threw them in a special bin.

Our recycling centre is growing from strength to strength and the children are absolutely brilliant at recycling and knowing what goes into each bin. There are times that staff ‘put’ the wrong item in one of the bins and we are told off by the children.

This initiative has fostered greater parental involvement within our services as parents are bringing in their leftover peels to feed compost Chris.  The enthusiasm of the children has also rubbed off on their parent’s with parents commenting on how much they have changed their habits towards recycling.

Tiny Tots entered the local St Patricks parade this year with recycling and care for our environment as the theme.  The recycling team came to life and the service won an award.

Athy Tidy Towns came up the centre and gave a speech to the children, gave them a litter picker and explained to them the importance of keeping our area clean and free from litter.  This followed with ‘National Spring Clean’ where children, staff, parents and people from the estate got involved and helped clean up the area. We received a brilliant response from everyone.

An Taisce came down to assess the children’s learning around recycling and were duly impressed because on the 7th of May we got the letter to say that we were awarded our Green Pre School Flag. The first in Co. Kildare.

We went to Croke Park on the 22nd of May to get presented with our flag, along with 53 other National Schools, from Kildare and Wicklow.

Our flag was presented to Caroline, Andrea, Alex Drewett & Tony Walsh, children living in Flinter’s Estate in Athy, by TD Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

We had our Flag Raising Day on Thursday 23rd May. It was attended by  Cllrs Mark Wall  & Richard Daly, Lisa O Rourke, & Tom Walsh from Respond, Ger Kelly From Athy Tidy Towns, Patricia Berry from Athy Outdoor Tourism Project, Ann Kilpatrick from VTOS Athy, Fidelma Martin from Kildare County Childcare Committee, Jodie Fennelly our Piper, And Emma Casey Newman our Irish dancer, also parents, residents, friends and children.

Cllr. Mark Wall raised the flag, with back round music played by the piper followed by Emma Casey Newman putting on a display of Irish Dancing.