‘Eco creches’ are now the norm in Brussels

Picture: Wikimedia Commons

In what is major stride towards sustainable childcare, the Gabrielle Vincent eco-crèche was inaugurated on Friday afternoon in Brussels. It means all day care settings in the centre of the Belgian capital can call themselves truly ‘environmentally friendly’.

The former Van Helmont co-care centre premises now house the city’s latest eco-friendly childcare facility, marking the culmination of efforts to transform all of the city’s daycare centers into eco-crèches.

Highlighting the significance of this transition, Arnaud Pinxteren, Alderman for the Young Child of the City of Brussels, said: “All of the city’s daycare centers are now eco-crèches -14 toddlers have already moved in here, in an environment that takes their health and that of the planet into account.”

Named after Monique Martin, known as Gabrielle Vincent, a renowned Brussels painter and illustrator, the eco-crèche pays homage to her legacy. Martin’s iconic characters, Ernest and Célestine, adorn the nursery’s front door, symbolizing tolerance, laughter, and tenderness.

City leaders say the eco-crèche drives embodies its commitment to sustainability in every aspect of childcare. Organic food, non-toxic toys, and washable diapers contribute to a healthier environment for the children. Plastic bottles have been replaced by glass or tap water, while disposable packaging has given way to reusable alternatives.

Lydia Mutyebele, Alderman for Public Heritage, emphasised the sustainability aspect of the renovations, focusing on eco-friendly materials and reducing the building’s energy footprint. The renaming of the crèches also aimed to spotlight female figures, promoting gender equality in the public sphere.

Furthermore, the transition to eco-crèches signifies a significant milestone for childcare workers, granting them recognition and status within the childcare sector. This move underscores the city’s commitment to providing high-quality, accessible childcare from an early age.

Philippe Close, Mayor of the City of Brussels, reiterated the importance of education as a cornerstone of societal progress, commending the eco-crèche initiative as an example of creating opportunities for all.

“The inauguration of the Gabrielle Vincent eco-crèche marks not only a physical transformation but also a profound commitment to a more sustainable and inclusive future for Brussels’ youngest residents,” he said.

Author: Simon Weedy

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