Coastline clean up keeps kids connected

Beach clean on April 12 features the students and parents of Gonzales Co-Op preschool

Little Ellie Davison is stomping up and down.

The four-year-old preschooler isn’t upset, in fact she is laughing out loud playing in the sand with classmates at Willows Beach.

Laughing alongside Ellie is her early childhood educator Angela Paletta-Haslam who hopes to preserve the ability for youth like Ellie to laugh and enjoy the outdoors – with a beach cleaning initiative and fundraiser aimed at keeping the coastline clean.

“We feel strongly about this community event because it is in line with our philosophy,” she said. “We model for the students how to take care of our earth, how to take care of our community. … We like to celebrate being outside.”

The beach clean on April 12 features the students and parents of Gonzales Co-Op preschool donning gloves, grabbing a bag and clearing the beach of garbage between Cattle Point and Gonzales Beach all morning and then enjoying a picnic party at the school afterwards.

One of those parents is Ellie’s mother Jana, who is looking forward to spending time with her daughter and like-minded parents – and spending it enjoying the outdoors.

“It is something that our family values very much, taking care of the environment and also the community,” Davison said. “It is a lot of fun to get out to the beaches together and have a little party after to celebrate the community and beautiful place that we live.”

Doubling as a fundraiser for the co-op school, where a parent is present every day to help with the day-to-day operations of the 32-family co-op, Paletta-Haslam said the focus isn’t just on the finances, it is on community.

“It is one of the fundraisers for our preschool, but it is more than that. We could get the parents to write a cheque and be done with it but that is not what it is about for us,” she said. “It’s about building our community and showing the greater community of Victoria and Oak Bay that we care about the earth and the world around us.”