If you want your setting to be more sustainable, you need to involve your parents, your staff team, and your children. It needs to be a team effort, or you won’t find the solutions that work for you.
You need to find a way to structure the changes so that it’s not too much at once – the Eco-Schools initiative was what gave Kate and her team that structure.
Don’t run before you can walk. It’s great if you have enthusiasm in the team, but you need to make sure new solutions aren’t creating new problems elsewhere.
You need to understand your guiding principles and stick to what works for you, your children, your staff and your families. Don’t just jump on the bandwagon of a ‘fad’, but allow new ideas to evolve your curriculum.
You need to understand where your strengths lie and that actually, outsourcing or hiring people to do certain jobs may help your business in the long run.
Kate Peach is the owner of Each Peach Day Nurseries, and increasingly one of the most important, passionate members of the early years sector.
She’s been running Each Peach now for six and a half years, and in 2019 she was named as one of NMT’s 10 Most influential People.
We sat down with her at the Childcare Expo in Manchester to hear all about an area she’s been putting a lot of her effort into over the last year or so – sustainability.
We talked about what sparked that interest, and how she’s managed to make small changes over time that have had a big impact. We also talked a little about the ethos that makes Each Peach different, and how she finds time and energy for it all.
If you want to watch the full video with the brilliant Kate, you can just scroll straight down to the bottom. If you like your information more bite-sized, you can check out short clips and summaries and our five key takeaways from the interview.
The first steps to sustainability
Kate explains that before you can make any changes, you need to know the impact of what you’re already doing.
She talks about surveying parents and staff, before sitting down with the whole team and discussing what changes they’d like to make. There’s no point dictating what’s going to happen – you have to make it collaborative.
Giving structure to your sustainability journey
The wonderful Cheryl Hadland was the one of the main motivators for Kate to start her journey to building a more sustainable childcare setting.
She talked about the importance of finding a structure, and for Kate that was the Eco-Schools programme. At times, there was a problem with running before they could walk with certain initiatives, and the step-by-step plan helped them to distil their passion and ideas into a more concrete plan for change.
Finding time for what matters
With a busy two-setting group, and a separate consultancy and training company that helps to financially support her nurseries, finding time for everything can be a real challenge.
The key was hiring amazing staff that she can trust, including her two wonderful nursery managers, as well as blocking out specific days for different tasks. Even staffing costs that might seem a bit extraneous, like a PA and designer, actually allow her to focus her time on her strengths, and in the long run, make for a more profitable business.
How to avoid early years ‘fads’
One thing Kate really cares about is her ethos of high quality, traditional childcare with wonderful staff, a beautiful setting, and children at the very centre.
That’s why she’s wary of jumping on the the latest ‘fads’, especially in the social media age. She talks about any changes being a slower evolution of her curriculum, and why they take the time to make sure that any change puts the child first, and works within their existing environment.
The full Kate Peach Interview
Sit back and enjoy the full interview, including:
Her guiding principles
Childcare with longevity
Her evolving curriculum
The problem with ‘fads’
Sustainability and the environment
Children and sustainability
Who inspires her
Her favourite early years book
Policy changes she’d like to see
Official Danish Government Reopening Advice
Guidance from the Danish Health Ministry, translated in full to English.