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Raising awareness of a child under 3 years of respect for nature is possible! And that makes sense. Interview with Claire Escriva, founder of Ecolo Crèche and ecotoxicologist.
What can a toddler understand about ecology and the protection of the environment?
- It is obviously not a question of teaching a toddler to reduce his ecological footprint or to make big scary speeches about the state of the planet! But simply to offer him the concrete possibility to explore his natural environment, both vegetable and animal.
- For many small children, especially those who live in the city, the contact with nature is limited to the dog poop on the sidewalk, the earth in the pot of the green plant, trees with concrete foot. A vision of nature somewhat reductive.
In concrete terms, how can parents promote contact with nature?
- By not considering as dirty or dangerous the fact that their child fiddles pebbles, dead leaves found on the ground, earth, sand, seaweed, even slugs or snails. A toddler will not get sick because he has been in contact with some bacteria, on the contrary, it reinforces its immune defenses!
- In addition, a range of sensory, emotional, and psychomotor experiences can promote awakening, especially if shared with parents. Like feeling the grass tickling her little bare feet, apprehend the difference between the fine sand and the wet earth, crumple a leaf of tree and smell the smell it releases, etc.
Besides this exploration of nature, what other "green" activities can you offer to your child?
- All kinds of workshops or crafts made with recycled materials, for example. With the catalogs and advertisements that invade our mailboxes, a small child can cut, tear, crinkle, paste.
- You can also make vegetable paint with it, which is non-toxic. Just put a red cabbage in the juicer to get a pretty purple paint. By adding a few drops of lemon, you get some pink. And with some flakes of soap, some green. Games "nature" imagined from elements of everyday life can be totally magical!
Can books, disks be interesting media?
- Of course ! All books that tell the life of animals and their habits are to be preferred. Not only because it fascinates toddlers, but also because animals are authentic ecologists, real models: their survival instinct in nature leads them to a great respect of their ecosystem. For example, they take care to store their waste or bury it so as not to be intoxicated by them.
- Another track: CDs of nature sounds and songs of birds that bring nature into the apartment and are very soothing.
Can food be a vector for raising awareness of ecology?
- Absolutely. For example, you can get your child to eat seasonal fruits and vegetables. It's a nice gift to him! Indeed, by offering strawberries in spring rather than in January, all chances are reunited for these fruits are particularly tasty and not odorless and tasteless. Thus accustomed from a very young age to eat good products, pleasant to taste, a child will have the heart growing up to keep this pleasure. When he has the choice, he will also opt for seasonal fruits and vegetables, working for the protection of the planet by avoiding undue transport. He will then behave like a true ecologist, in a natural way ...
- Consult the site ecolo-creche.fr
- The ecotoxicologist studies the harmful effects of chemicals and pollutants on the environment and health.
Isabelle Gravillon for the Parents supplement of Popi magazine.