Children on The Bay – How Capel Sounds Educational Child Care Centre and Kindergarten are dedicated to caring for Country

This blog was written by Madeline Tatham, Health Promotion Practitioner at Peninsula Health

In September 2022, Capel Sounds Educational Child Care Centre and Kindergarten (Capel Sounds ECC&K) were acknowledged by the Healthy Early Childhood Services Achievement Program for their ongoing commitment to Climate and Health.

As part of their work in this space, the centre was successful in a grant application to the Port Phillip Bay Fund, alongside Capel Sounds Foreshores Committee of Management, to fund a project called ‘Children on The Bay’.

The initiative aims to foster cultural understanding and stewardship of the bay and foreshore in children. Children, educators and some families took part in planting sessions with local rangers, to regenerate the habitat and support the health of the bay. As part of the project they engaged local Indigenous artist, Adam Magennis, Director of Kaptify Bunurong Art, to develop artwork with the children. The artwork was then displayed on A-Frames built by the local Men’s Shed along the foreshore with buckets and tongs for beach-goers to collect litter.

These are just some of the many actions the service is taking to support the health of the climate and their community. Some other wonderful initiatives include their Out and About Program, where children explore and care for their local Bunurong land on foot. There have installed solar panels at the service to help reduce electricity usage. All of their fruit and veg is locally sourced. They aim to use natural resources for arts and crafts including sticks, gumnuts and leaves. The centre conducts regular ‘Rubbish Audits’ to help reduce food waste, where food scraps are taken home by staff and families to feed chickens. They also use bore water for gardening and playing, and make an effort to repurpose, upcycle and repair furniture wherever possible.

“One of the biggest impacts that has been seen is the knowledge that the children have gained about their environment,” says Cassandra Wirth, Capel Sounds ECC&K Wellbeing Officer. “How to take care and look after it, as well as learning the impact we can have on our environment. Then seeing them put this knowledge into practice as well as sharing it with their families.”

The service has experienced strengthened relationships from increasing their engagement with local community and families.

“Looking after our environment and engaging with nature has had a positive effect on the children, educators and families physical and mental health,” explains Cassandra.

Capel Sounds ECC&K is dedicated to continuing discussions and actions into the future to support and enhance the wellbeing of their service and the planet. They offer the following tips to other early childhood services who want to target Climate and Health:

  • Use your local community resources
  • Do a Rubbish Audit
  • Involve the children and families
  • Upcycle, repair and recycle furniture
  • Research and discuss what areas need improvement to target Climate and Health.

“There are many things everyone can do that improve our health and help respond to the climate crisis,” says Maddy, Peninsula Health Health Promotion Practitioner. “Starting small is better than not starting at all.”

If your early childhood service or school would like to learn more about the links between the climate and health of your service/ school community, we’d love to hear from you. Send us an email at