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Owl and the Dove, has been endorsed by Eco-Heathy Child Care® (EHCC) for 7 years. Founder and Director Teri Relyea cares for children 18 months to 5 years. Prior to attaining the EHCC endorsements, Ms. Relyea had already been living an eco-healthy lifestyle - both as a parent and child care provider for 16 years. “It made sense” said Ms. Relyea. It has always been evident to her that local parents are looking for child care providers that value their children’s health, and specifically, their environmental health. From the beginning, Ms. Relyea has spearheaded the implementation of EHCC practices in an effort to comprehensively protect the health of the children in her care.
Before she opened her program’s doors, the lead containing vinyl mini-blinds were all removed and indoor air-cleaning plants like spider and snake plants were purchased. The facility has been remodeled to capture natural sunlight via solar tubes and skylights. They’ve removed their asphalt shingle roof and replaced it with a 100% recyclable, eco-friendly steel roof. They removed all invasive species of plants and naturescaped with native to Portland plants. Their garden beds are located in what used to be a driveway. Ms. Relyea only uses bleach free cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting products as much as possible. Additionally, she opts for tissues made from sugar cane and bamboo instead of trees. Children also participate in a variety of hands on activities, like organic gardening, harvesting water from rain barrels and vermiculture. These activities provide an opportunity to teach the importance of being a healthy person, while also fostering an appreciation and respect for the world around them.
Owl and the Dove is a shoe free facility which reduces the amount of pollutants that may be tracked in. The program also requires cloth training underwear. Ms. Relyea routinely makes time to teach the children about the importance of environmental stewardship. Parents are also encouraged to adopt the Owl and the Dove motto: Reduce, Refuse, Reuse, and Recycle. For example, if packing a lunch, reusable containers are required and single use packaged items are discouraged. Furthermore, the Owl and the Dove motto is used during healthy outdoor play. Untreated repurposed wood has been used to build a treehouse, bike shelter and sandbox and to create “tree coins". They have an imagination station, where children use materials found in nature and repurposed materials to support creative play and learning.
Ms. Relyea has made her school a wonderful example of going above and beyond Eco-Healthy Child Care®'s requirements. Her tips for others seeking this endorsement is to “Educate yourself on environmental concerns and it will help becoming an eco-healthy child care easy. When you do your research you can't ignore that it’s the right thing to do.” We are honored to showcase Owl and the Dove. They protect children’s health and use nature as their classroom too!
Our youngest children deserve to have access to clean air, safe drinking water, and to be protected from unnecessary exposures to harmful chemicals in everyday products and furnishings. CEHN’s Eco-Healthy Child Care® (EHCC) program provides education and training to child care professionals throughout the country on eco-healthy best practices in early learning and care environments. We even offer EHCC endorsement to child care providers who meet our requirements. Since 2010, over 2,700 programs have been EHCC-endorsed.
Currently 78,949 children are in child care facilities that follow EHCC best practices, such as Owl and Dove. The founder of this Portland, Oregon child care program, Teri Relyea, has adopted many eco-healthy practices such as bleach-free sanitizing and disinfecting, maintaining a “shoe-free” interior, reducing waste, and growing organic produce with the children in her care. Learn more about them out here: http://bit.ly/2qYYfpr
There are up to 13 million children in some form of child care in the US today. Help us reach more child care professionals so that they too can learn simple, low-cost steps to protect children’s respiratory health, mental health, and brain development, so children can reach their full potential. Shop at Amazon Smile this holiday season here: smile.amazon.com/ch/52-2305620. Donations CEHN receives from Amazon Smile support our Eco-Healthy Child Care® program in ensuring safer, healthier environments for our youngest children. #SeasonOfSmiles #ChildrenAtTheCenter”