Pre-K Green Certification Initiative
About the Pre-K Green Certification Initiative
The primary deliverables will be the creation of a first-of-its-kind Pre-K Green Certification, and an accompanying network of business and non-profit partners supporting an integrated program for environmental sustainability and stewardship. The certification component is a multi-step process that begins with providing centers a free evaluation. Alba Research Consulting (ARC), as the lead partner, will subsequently develop an individualized proposal of eco-friendly alternatives, and facilitate implementation of sustainable solutions. Simultaneously, the programmatic partner, Urban Paradise Guild (UPG), will implement a once-a-week, hands-on, environmental education curriculum that will create “living classrooms” including vegetable gardens and butterfly habitats which will, in turn, sync with ARC’s operational sustainability initiatives. Children at centers participate (on their levels) in the changes to their center’s practices. Alongside these components, ARC will regularly monitor the quality of implementation, offers staff training on program components, and link centers with supportive services and products for eco-friendly practices. By the end of the 12-month service cycle, centers will have improved on the eight sustainability criteria developed for evaluation and certification.
Letter from our Founder
As a mom returning to work after a year of maternity leave, I was disappointed by the limited options for childcare aligned with my values regarding a safe, healthy, and ecofriendly environment. Most options for childcare fell, indeed, well short: serving overly-processed food, creating tons of landfill-bound disposable waste, shutting out Nature, and endangering children with toxic chemicals from harsh cleaning supplies. The well-intentioned, committed staff did not have the time or resources, nor, as a result, the vision, to make needed changes given the lack of systemic consciousness within which they operated.
Inspired by the need to serve our children better, I founded Alba Research & Consulting, ARC LLC, around this time. I was eager to connect existing ‘green’ products and services to the child care setting. My goal was to create a more health-conscious and eco-friendly environment for our young children to thrive. After a few conversations, our dedicated team of working mothers and professional allies began to work towards developing a solution.
We began conducting research on what works to motivate behavioral changes, and what motivates the incorporation of green technology to what matters the most: our future generation. Children learn about sustainability through observation and immersion in a healthy environment, with sustainable practices in place. We therefore created an initiative facilitating the curriculum-wide incorporation of these values while sustainably-sourcing the physical environment and materials provided.
Our certification initiative motivates the adoption of best practices in the field. Through an advisory committee, comprised of education-and-sustainability leaders, we channel guiding wisdom towards the certification’s continual improvement. We partnered with Florida International University’s Global Risk and Corporate Responsibility track to gauge demand for the initiative and fine-tune our proposal. Now we are here, pleased to present our initiative and seek your involvement to begin in earnest.
There are several opportunities for engagement as an advisory committee member, sponsor, or as a participating child care center desiring sustainability. Please join us. Not only will we evaluate current practices and curriculums regarding sustainability. But we’ll also provide a systematic, evidence-based approach to improving early child care education by incorporating sustainability into the curriculum and the center’s physical environment.
Dr. Ilyana Albarrán
Founder and CEO
We are proud to announce we have partnered with some amazing organizations. Each partner will provide their expertise, methods, resources, and knowhow to ensure the success of the initiative. Here is the list of our partners (alphabetical order): EcoSystems, Lean Orb, UF IFAS Extension Program, Urban Oasis Project, and Urban Paradise Guild.
Our Advisory Board
Ana Meira is a business professional with a passion for the environment. Ana is the Creative Director for Regular Animal, a creative agency that generates strategy and design across all platforms. Her work ranges from global marketing strategy to digital marketing, helping organizations to enhance their products and improve their sales, sparking growth in business through offline and online media. Ana has a global mindset, she has traveled and worked in various cities throughout Spain, the United Kingdom, and now in Florida, USA. Also, she is the proud Board Member of Debris Free Oceans and Florida National Parks Association.
Learn more about Ana here: Linked In
Anastasia Mikhalochkina is an environmental innovation entrepreneur, designer by trade – she always has been passionate about sustainability, energy optimization, and social equality. Anastasia is the Founder and CEO of LeanOrb, a company that builds valuable products at the intersection of arts, technology and sustainability sectors. She is an advocate for the usage of zero-plastic, which is the foundation of her organization – Lean Orb helps communities get rid of plastic packaging waste and use biodegradable cutleries.
“It takes one passionate person to inspire a village. My choice today can very much inspire my village.”
– Anastasia Mikhalochkina, Founder of Lean Orb
Learn more about Anastasia here: Anastasia
Anne Quirino is passionate about the community receiving clean water. She is a highly effective results-driven leader with over ten years of experience as a Marketing & Operations Management Professional. Anne is the Director of Operations for EcoSystems, LLC, a company that provides multi-family water efficiency services. Anne is in charge of analyzing operations to identify and facilitate process improvement opportunities, ultimately helping direct cross-functional teams.
Learn more about Anne here: Linked In
Jeannie Necessary is a community leader specializing in partnership building and creating sustainable food systems within communities. Manager focused on program implementation, coaching, staff leadership, program evaluation, sustainability, and strategic planning. She is a well-respected community member with a strong history of cultivating innovative, long-term partnerships, community outreach, and building strategic relationships on a local and national level.
Learn more about Jeannie here: Linked In
Julia Sanchez is a public health professional with expertise in the out-of-school time field. As Manager of the Healthy Schools and Communities Program with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, she has built the capacity of South Florida nonprofit organizations, school districts, and parks and recreation departments to make policy, systems and environmental changes that increase healthy eating and physical activity amongst youth, staff, and families. Other notable professional experiences include serving as Program Director at two Girl Scout councils, administering leadership development programs for youth and adult activists, and working on an organic farm. As a certified herbalist, holistic health counselor and permaculturist, Julia is passionate about the connection between environmental sustainability and wellness. She is earning a Master’s degree in social work from Florida State University and holds a Bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from New College of Florida as well as a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. With roots in Washington, D.C. and the Turks and Caicos Islands, Julia has called Florida home her entire adult life.
Learn more about Julia here: Julia
Pilot program certification:
The purpose of performance measurement is to encourage continuous improvements of ideas, concepts, and practices. By evaluating the eco-footprint of early education centers and promoting best practices, we not only improve their service model and program, but the health of the children, the environment, and their community.
If you are a child care provider, please fill our short survey below:
Projects that are jointly developed and administered through a public-private partnership are more sustainable. Become a sponsor to help advance continual environmental awareness and best practices in child care.
We welcome the input of our advisory committee members towards the continual improvement of our program design, methods and outcome measurements.