Go Green Rating Scale for Early Childhood Settings



Across the country, early childhood professionals are interested in protecting the health of the young children in their care and in protecting the environment through green, or environmentally friendly, practices. Children are especially vulnerable in their early years, and developmentally, they are susceptible to environmental hazards that may affect their potential for long, healthy lives.

Even though early childhood professionals nurture children in the safest and most protective setting possible, it can be challenging to fully understand the steps to take to prevent inadvertent exposure to hazardous chemicals and conditions. Are children being exposed to asthma triggers? Is there lead in the water? Are there toxins in the plastic items being used? It is alarming how many common environmental conditions such as the presence of dust mites or other asthma triggers and poor ventilation can threaten emerging immune, neurological, and endocrine systems. Some of these challenges are beyond our control, but fortunately, many are easily managed.



Redleaf Press’s Go Green Rating Scale for Early Childhood Settings and Go Green Rating Scale for Early Childhood Settings Handbook address these issues and are a way for early childhood programs to evaluate their practices to create a healthier environment and to inform families about the benefits of doing so.


The Go Green Rating Scale and Go Green Rating Scale Handbook are the only products of their kind to outline a research-based, comprehensive set of standards for green child care. These standards are measurable and graduated, leading an early childhood program up the scale toward the healthiest environment possible. Categories evaluated in the rating scale include

  • air quality
  • cleaning products
  • pests and pesticides
  • lead and other contaminants, such as plastics, formaldehyde, and fire retardants
  • stewardship and green living, including recycling and waste reduction



The Go Green Rating Scale self-assessment will take approximately three hours to complete and is easy to use. The Go Green Rating Scale Handbook walks rating scale users through the process of understanding why the rating scale guidelines are important and explains in detail how to evaluate each guideline. This information will support users as they work to improve their Go Green Rating Scale score.

The Go Green Rating Scale and the Go Green Rating Scale Handbook work together to
  • define the most important elements of going green
  • offer concrete measures and goals
  • provide practical guidelines that fit a program’s situations, timing and budget














“This straightforward guide provides easy-to-follow recommendations...to begin proactive commitment towards developing healthful child care environments based on sustainable principles. This guide advances the green environmental movement that supports better living.”


-Sara Rothholz Weiner, AIA, LEED® A.P.
Associate Principal
Cunningham Group Architecture, P.A.
Minneapolis, MN



“...[Go Green Rating Scale’s] focus on safe and healthy conditions for children outside of the home is beneficial for the wellbeing of our next generation...[It] successfully educates providers to clearly communicate their conscious values.”


—Nora Pittenger
EcoTuesday Minneapolis Ambassador


"The Go Green Rating Scale is an impressive resource to help reduce the health and environmental hazards that can sometimes be found in early childhood settings. Because of children's vulnerability to such hazards, progress in this area is so important. it is commendable that such an important resource is available through Redleaf Press."

-Cheryl Baldwin, PhD
Vice President of Sciences and Standards
Green Seal