The animal kingdom is a major part of daily life at Woden Valley Early Learning Centre, teaching children valuable lessons in life, and fundraising through the ACT Container Deposit Scheme is helping the centre care for animals.
Director Paulina Jagus said by learning and playing alongside farm and native animals, including ducks, chickens, joeys and reptiles, the children, aged from babies up to six years, develop crucial skills.
“The animals are considered co-workers and teach the children about empathy, impulse control, responsibility and caring for the natural world,” said Paulina.
“When children care for the animals by feeding and cleaning their water troughs and sleeping spaces, they take on the responsibility of caring for another living creature. They learn empathy and respectful sharing of their environment.”
Marissa Corcoran, one of the educators at the community-based not-for-profit centre is a wildlife carer. To support her efforts, the centre has begun fundraising through the ACT Container Deposit Scheme.
“We decided to collect any containers that could be recycled and donate all the money to Queanbeyan Wildlife care,” said Paulina.
Families either bring their containers to the Woden Valley centre to be returned by volunteers or they return the containers themselves and donate the 10c refund for each eligible container. This has created a steady income stream of around $50 per fortnight that helps sick or injured wildlife.
“In the past six years of her volunteering, Marissa has helped over 25 orphaned joeys,” said Paulina. “All the money raised allows volunteers like Marissa to access formula for the joeys, bottles and bedding, and pay for any necessary veterinary visits.”
Paulina added that at the centre they aim to incorporate waste minimisation activities across all their programs, including using recyclable materials for art projects, composting food waste and working towards becoming paper-free.
The ACT CDS is a partnership between the ACT Government, scheme coordinator Exchange for Change and network operator Return-It.