Tops Day Nurseries believe in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible world for all. We aim to achieve this through educating the children of today, so that they, in turn, can influence the way future generations live.
We believe that the way we currently live our lives is environmentally unsustainable and, therefore, ultimately socially and economically unsustainable too.
Cheryl believes that investing in the education of our children is the most effective way there is to provide a sustainable environment into the future; by instilling a passion in our staff and children to ensure we leave our environment fit for the next generation to enjoy a healthy life.
Tops Day Nurseries was the first nursery group in the UK to achieve Green Flag certifications at all settings!
The prestigious family of eco-sustainable nurseries have been working hard to become one of the UK’s leading sustainable Early Education and Care Provider, using the challenges of Covid-19 to focus on something positive. Now all nurseries across Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Somerset and Plymouth have achieved a bronze, silver Eco-Schools Award and Green Flag Award. Funding for the Green-Flag external assessment costs for all the nurseries has been donated by FRUGI, the UK’s leading ethical and sustainable children’s clothing brand. Assessment has been completed via zoom calls and photographic evidence rather than on-site visits in order to protect the assessors and children.
The Eco-Schools is a global programme engaging millions of children across 64 different countries, making it the largest environmental schools programme in the world. The programme provides a framework for learning and action around nine topics – biodiversity, energy, litter, global citizenship, healthy living, grounds, transport, waste and water. It follows a very simple seven-step process to lead schools on their journey to achieving a Green Flag Award. Children and staff have been able to focus on the areas that are most fascinating, and relevant to them in each nursery.
Cheryl Hadland, Managing Director of Tops Day Nurseries, has published her brand new book: Creating an Eco-Friendly Early Years Setting. Proceeds of the book will go to the Charity, GECCO, because Cheryl wants to spread the word to help anyone who works with children, both in the UK and internationally, to care for, and educate children in a more sustainable way.
The book is modelled on the changes made within the Tops Day Nurseries family but can be replicated in any early years setting, office or even at home. There are chapters in the book on pedagogy, sustainable resources for children, pets, indoor and outdoor gardening, improving air quality for children and adults as well as inspiring change in our behaviour.”
‘Creating an Eco-Friendly Early Years Setting’ offers a comprehensive, researched guide, from small steps that can be taken to reduce waste and improve efficiency to setting up partnerships. It illustrates how sustainable choices can become a natural part of every child’s education and how children, parents and staff can all inspire sustainable behaviour across local communities and at national and international levels.
Drawing on the experiences of real nurseries and including a wide range of activities and lists of resources, this is an essential read for practitioners, leaders, policymakers and all settings that want to help make sustainable choices a natural part of young children’s lives.
Dorset Business Awards - Top Environmental Business Award
Tops is a B. Corp Business
B Corporation (or B. Corp) are businesses that live the highest social and environmental standards for people and the planet. Tops were assessed and audited against demanding standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. There are currently over 3,500 B. Corps in 150 industries and 70 countries across the globe and Tops Day Nurseries has become the first Day Nursery in the UK to become a certified B. Corp business.
You may have seen in the paper or on the news that Tops Day Nurseries have put a ban in place for any more ordering of glitter.
Glitter microplastics are an increasing problem. These tiny, shimmering specs of microplastic are virtually impossible to remove from the environment once there. When we’ve finished using plastic glitter for play, in decorating a card, sprinkling it into playdough or glue or painting with it, it goes into a bin or into the sink. It can’t be recycled because it isn’t practical to do so, it’s too small to separate out.
We already know that 100% of mussels found off France and Belgium have ingested microplastics and many fish have too; so if you eat shell fish you more than likely have eaten microplastics already, along with the toxic additives that manufacturers use (for colour, flexibility etc.) which are known to copy oestrogen, and affect human fertility.
Our children, our future
Children at Tops Day Nurseries are encouraged to be considerate with their actions by recycling and caring for the environment just as part of everyday play and being in the nursery.
We talk about nature and the importance of respect and caring for the environment every day, whether it be through a mud kitchen, bug garden, clearing up after lunch or Tops Forest School.
Children Love to Explore
Tops believe that children of all ages should have the opportunity to learn about their natural environment.
Your children love the outdoors, assisting them to develop the knowledge, skills and values that will help them thrive in a more environmentally sustainable world.
In the nurseries...
Nursery colleagues have already made huge improvements to the nursery environments; you may have noticed them wearing lovely pink aprons (that are washed and re-used).
Rather than the one use plastic aprons we were using, they are not buying straws or balloons or one use plastic cups, cutlery or plates. Nurseries have started to grow their own herbs and vegetables with the children, using water from the water butt, meaning children can sample their home grown produce during snack and meal times and they learn a huge amount of biology at the same time.
We are excited to announce that Tops Day Nurseries has now invested in bamboo toothbrushes for the children to use, supporting our ethos as a green, sustainable company. Tops will not be buying any more plastic toothbrushes for the children.
Tops Day Nurseries have recently invested in electric vehicles for staff to use in order to produce zero emissions when needing travel at work. These cars are fully electric and have many different benefits when it comes to helping the environment and being sustainable. The biggest benefit of which being that the cars do not emit toxic gases or smoke as they run on a clean energy source.
Tops Day Nurseries already provide the most eco-sustainable Early Education and Care in the UK, so it is ideal to continue this practice on the move. Being respectful of the environment and acting to reduce, re-use and recycle resources is an important part of the culture and routine for the children and staff.
Switch it off!
Tops Day Nurseries gave ‘Switch it off’ stickers to every child and put them up in the nurseries and offices to remind ourselves, parents and children to switch off the lights and electrical appliances when not in use.
Cutting the costs on printing
The nurseries have also reduced the amount of welcome packs handed out to new parents by sending them via email.
The original welcome packs contained information such as terms and conditions, enrolment forms, policies and more. By creating an e-version of this, the nurseries save approximately £750 on printing per 500 visits, savings which we will pass on to further improve our green actions such as paying for our food waste to be collected and anaerobically digested rather than put into the general waste.
All communications are sent via email now rather than issuing paper copies – this includes sickness notifications, event details, staff updates, photography visits and much more.
Tops Day Nurseries are proud to support the local charity GECCO.
GECCO, the Green Early Years Choices Champion Organisation (not-for-profit), was started as a way to share best practice in caring for children in a sustainable way.
Their website is broken down into sections on activities to do with children, whether you are an early years teacher or a parent, on things to consider when buying furniture, cleaning materials and toys for children, and on the background to why waste, global warming and the extinction of animals and plants is a problem now and especially for the next generations.
They also run a Real Nappy Campaign which GECCO, taking advantage of its close relationship with the Tops Day Nursery, is a pilot ‘Nappy Library’ project, encouraging behavioral change amongst their own staff (some 750) and then the parents of the approx 3,000 children that attend. We will be measuring the impact. The unique aspect of the GECCO campaign is reaching parents through the day nurseries that their children attend, with colleagues in those nurseries being fully trained in the use of cloth nappies within the setting, and then supporting parents to make the change.
The 16 Steps
We have introduced these 16 steps, selected by experts, to reduce our carbon pollution and persuade others to do the same.
Whether it’s switching energy, driving electric, repair & reuse or talking to friend, there’s a step that we can all do.
Green Pea Initiative
As part of our commitment to a better environment for ours and our children’s futures we have joined the Green Positive Environmental Action (PEA) scheme and we are delighted to announce we have now accumulated four peas out of 5, mostly for reducing our carbon impact by 10%!
We’ll get the 5th pea if we reduce by 20%. We have done many small things, one at a time, such as changing our light bulbs for LED bulbs, making use of time and light sensors, putting printers to sleep rather than standby when we aren’t using them and installing timers on our water coolers, water heaters so they aren’t on when we don’t need them on. We’ve also fitted fuel-saving magnets on all the gas and water mains and the older cars across the nurseries. In some cases the heating was on for 17 hours a day as well as weekends when the nursery was shut, so with these new measures the bills could be cut by 50%.
Carbon Offset Certificate
Tops Day Nurseries Ltd has been awarded the Carbon Offset Certificate. This certificate means all of our locations have balanced greenhouse gas emissions associated with our general and recyclable waste collections and through changes we have made internally/externally, through carbon offsetting.
We are so proud of this certificate because it shows that all our hard work is contributing to positive change for our planet.