Young children are especially susceptible to the negative effects of modern life, including indoor air quality and heavy metal exposure, such as lead. Many eco-living families feel like they have to sacrifice some of their green morals when placing their children in daycare or preschool. These families do the best they can by packing their children organic snacks, but there is little they can do about other aspects of the program. Now, parents in Atlanta, Georgia will have a choice to enroll their children in the first completely eco-friendly child care center FIO360.
What makes a child care facility eco-friendly? According to FIO360,
- Solar tubing to conserve energy and provide natural daylight throughout the facility;
- Radiant, heated floors in all classrooms-proven to reduce energy costs, enhance air quality and improve circulation, which contributes to a stronger immune system, a healthier heart and better sleep;
- Activclassroom whiteboard technology and software informed by teachers to foster an interactive learning environment that keeps students engaged, focused and enthusiastic;
- Streaming video capabilities in each classroom for parents who want to periodically join in on their children’s learning and play experiences throughout the day;
- Waterless urinals and sensor-activated faucets in all lavatories to preserve water;’
- Odor-free, zero-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, which have been linked to numerous harmful health effects, from headaches to cancer;
- Heated Marmoleum flooring in all the classrooms and main corridors, made up of all-natural, non-allergenic raw materials such as linseed oil, rosins and wood flour;
- Zero-PVC (polyvinyl chloride) rugs that are formaldehyde-free and made with natural fibers; and
- Eco-friendly, no-PVC play equipment and all natural, organic toys that exclude harmful chemicals and lead.
Personally, I question the need for an Activclassroom whiteboard in an early childhood classroom. I do have concerns about the overuse of technology at this young age, and I firmly believe that hands-on learning with quality, open-ended toys in socially-mediated learning environment is all children need to grow and prosper. That being said, all of the other green innovations are FIO360 are to be commended. In fact,
FIO360 is one of the first child care centers in the United States to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standards for environmentally sustainable construction. Forgoing the formal LEED certification, FIO360’s Eco Early Care and Learning Boutique will actually surpass the Council’s standards, providing an entirely eco-friendly operation with organic/locally-grown food, natural/organic personal care products and earth-friendly cleaners throughout the facility.
But I have to ask, why forgo the formal LEED certification? For more information about LEED and green building, please visit Green Building Elements.
FIO360 plans to open in April, reaching full capacity of 238 openings by August, 2008. This eco-friendly child care center is also hiring employees (too bad I don’t live in Atlanta). Hopefully, the trend towards eco-friendly child care will take off across the United States.