Earth Friendly Practices

Going Green…it’s more than recycling!

 At Gretchen’s House, promoting physical health and caring for the environment are principles on which our curriculum is centered.

We thought that current and prospective parents might like to know a bit about the efforts that we make at all our centers to provide a healthy environment and be part of a socially responsible community.

  • We use baking soda and vinegar instead of commercially prepared cleaners. In addition, we are intentional in reading labels and purchasing the safest, least toxic choice for cleaning. We still use bleach and hydrogen peroxide to sanitize, as required by State licensing.
  • We strive to ensure that our menus include locally grown fruits and vegetables – each center has large garden space and the children eat what they grow. In addition, we often work with local farms as sources of fresh vegetables. We avoid products with high fructose corn syrup and have almost completely eliminated prepared foods from the menu. We do our own preparation, so we know what’s in the food we serve.
  • For years we’ve only purchased milk with no hormones or anti-biotics. We actually purchase the milk through Washtenaw Dairy, as part of a larger effort to support local businesses. We know this is important for the local economy and helps cut down the environmental impact of so much shipping, etc, which takes place when “big box” stores are the primary source of goods.
  • We have tested many of our toys and equipment (including crib mattresses) for lead and other chemicals. Flame retardants, we’ve learned, are particularly toxic. We also minimize the use of rubbery toys that contain chemicals we want to avoid. You’ll notice an emphasis on natural play materials on our shelves.
  • We use a natural yard spray to reduce mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks in our wooded areas (the secret ingredient is garlic!).
  • All of our centers have recycling bins in the classrooms and/or common areas. This supports our children in forming lifelong earth friendly habits.


We are fortunate to have parents who support our efforts and have developed a good working relationship with experts in the community who provide resources and information. These include the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor and past GH parent Matt Grocoff of Greenovation TV