Teaching a Green Lifestyle

One of our Core Values is “Teaching a Green Lifestyle”, we wanted to take the time to share with you some of what we do at The Learning Tree, where we are dedicated to fulling this Core Value!


  • The Learning Tree is proud to be one of the only child care centers in Michigan that sanitizes with the ZONO, a revolutionary chemical-free sanitizer that sanitizes toys, stuffed animals, cots, crib mattresses, electronics, dress up clothes, crayons, and more! Items are simply placed in the ZONO, and the ZONO does all of the sanitizing work for us, with no chemicals. This will allow us to focus on the work we enjoy– taking care of and teaching your children. 

Essential Oil Diffusers 

  • The Learning Tree prides itself on having fresh smelling classrooms. With so many choices in air fresheners on the market, the options are endless. However after a little research it was discovered that many of the commercially made air fresheners contained harmful chemicals such as Formaldehyde, Camphor and Ethanol. These dangerous chemicals have been implicated in cancer, neurological damage, reproductive, and developmental disorders. We decided the more natural we could go, the better. That is why each classroom has an Essential Oil Diffuser that emits fresh citrus smells into the air items keeping our classrooms fresh. 

Cloth Napkins 

  • With an average of 700 children each day at The Learning Tree’s combined and 2 meals and 3 snacks per day we would be going through 3500 paper napkins per day. Multiply that by 260 school days and we were adding 910,000 napkins per year into the local landfills! While we realize that the usage of cloth napkins increases our water usage we honestly feel that saving the land for our children and our children’s children was the best choice for us! 

Plastic Free 

  • For years now we have been filled with information about a harmful chemical found in many plastics called Bisphenol A or BPA. When BPA is heated in a dishwasher or microwave or used to store hot food, the BPA breaks down and leaks into our food. In many studies, BPA might be linked to causing diabetes, cancer, aggressiveness, heart disease as well as many hormonal abnormalities or sensitivities. For all these reasons, The Learning Tree eliminated all plastic from our kitchens. During meals and snacks you will see the children eating off of Corelle and silicone dishes and drinking their beverages out of silicone cups. While other centers may see this as extreme and expensive, we believe that this is the safest option for the children entrusted to our care. 

Recycle Programs 

  • We do our best to minimize the amount of trash we throw into the garbage cans. We have formal recycling programs that will allow us to recycle paper, plastic, glass, lightbulbs and batteries. While exploring our classrooms you will see recycle bins in each room. Children love to add their scraps of paper to the paper bin. Our teachers strive to make this part of the children’s daily routine and keep them involved in the process! 

Washing Fresh Fruit and Veggies 

  • Think about exactly how many hands and machines touch your fruit before you put it in your mouth. If you think about it there are far too many to count! That is why we make sure that each piece of fresh fruit and every fresh vegetable is washed and scrubbed in a white vinegar and water solution before entering your classroom to be served. The acetic acid in the vinegar kills bacteria residues found on the skins of many fruits and vegetables. 

Cleaning Products 

  • It is a known fact that you will breathe in any substance that you come into contact with. This is why we use a 100% biodegradable plant based cleaning product called Terafore. A number of studies have drawn a link between traditional household cleaners and the substantial increase in the number of children afflicted with asthma and allergies. While these cleaners release harmful pollutants in the air known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), Terefore releases no VOC’s- meaning zero ozone depletion potential. 

Plants in the Classrooms 

  • Plants do more than just brighten a room with color. By just putting 3-5 plants in a classroom we are removing toxic air emissions and potentially harmful chemicals from the air such as ammonia, carbon monoxide and car exhaust fumes. By purifying the air we are eliminating outside toxins that could cause more illness in the classroom. Clean air means that children are more alert and ready to learn! We, of course, go to great lengths ensuring that the plants in our classrooms are safe for the children to touch and explore. 

Turning Off Your Car 

  • While we understand that it may be more convenient for a parent to leave their car running while they come into the center to drop off or pick up their little ones we encourage them to take minute and turn their car off. Idling tailpipes spew out the same pollutants that form unhealthy smog and soot as those from moving cars. Nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds are the main health-harming pollutants in vehicle emissions. These pollutants have been linked to serious human illnesses, including asthma, heart disease, chronic bronchitis and cancer. Children are especially vulnerable to the health dangers of exhaust. Remember that our playgrounds and outdoor play areas are right next to our parking lots which means if a car is idling our children are breathing in things that their little lungs can not handle. 

Humidity in the Classrooms 

  • Mold is a fungus that feeds off of and breaks down organic material. It can be found everywhere but most indoor molds are formed when spores from outside mold get inside. To ensure that we are not creating an environment that reproduces these tiny spores that float freely in the air, each evening we place a humidity tester in a different location in our center. In the morning we check the humidity to ensure that it is between 30 and 50%. Exposure to mold can occur through inhalation, ingestion and by touching moldy surfaces. Children are at greatest risk because they inhale greater volumes of air per pound of body weight. The possible effects of mold on a person’s health include: wheezing, dry hacking cough, eye irritation, nasal stuffiness, fever, shortness of breath, and respiratory illness.