A recycling themed week is appropriate around Earth Day, which is on April 22 every year, or at the beginning of the year if the classroom will be recycling items throughout the year. Choose lessons and projects that teach kids what they can recycle and how they can reuse items.
Prepare for a recycling-themed unit by creating a notice board for the preschool students to look at every day. In the centre of the board, staple three curved arrows pointing at each other to create a circle like the recycling logo. Around the edges, attach recyclable items and pictures of plants and wildlife that will benefit when items are recycled instead of thrown in landfills.
In many parts of the country, families need to sort their recyclables into different categories. Ask parents to bring all of their non-glass recyclable items to school for a couple weeks and have a sorting day with the kids. Label different parts of the room with types of recyclables, including paper, cardboard, newspaper, aluminium and plastic. After helping the kids through a few examples of where items go, set them loose to take all of the recyclable items to the correct part of the room.
One way to recycle items is to use them again in the home rather than sending them to a recycling centre. Help preschoolers create crafts using recycled items. Tape paper towel tubes and toilet paper tubes together to make a long tube to race marbles down. Cut up old magazines to make collages. Punch holes in plastic lids and string them onto used shoelaces for a colourful decoration. Plant herbs or flowers in empty plastic yoghurt containers. Cut a hole in the side of an empty milk carton and fill the bottom with birdseed to make a bird feeder.
If there is a recycling centre in the area, plan a field trip so the kids can see firsthand what happens to items after they are recycled. Preschoolers will love watching the big machines and seeing all the items that get to be reused instead of going to the landfill. If there is no recycling centre in the area, show kids a video that has footage of a recycling centre.