What better way to start children learning about the environment and green living, than to bring green living ideas for the classroom into the curriculum of every school. This is a subject I will revisit other times having taught in schools before. I firmly believe that change in the world begins with children and takes the form of teaching children how to live well or better. This hopefully will set off a snowball effect for those children to then go home and help parents put it into practice, even if it is done as an assignment or experiment. At least this way the next generation have a chance to recognise the importance of caring for their planet and continue to use green living practices through their lifetimes, in turn teaching their own children.
All Schools Should Teach About Gardening For Food!
If there were to come a time in our children’s future, that they need to become self-sufficient, what they learn in school in terms of gardening for food, may well save their lives at a later date. Natural disasters aside, if we continue destroying the planet, we may force our children to have to live like this because we will have left them without resources.
We’ve Come A Long Way, But Is It Enough?
When I was young and at school, we heard all about global warming and the ‘hole in the ozone layer’, as they referred to it back then. But the solutions seemed to span long into the future as they were only just beginning to look into solar, wind and hydro power. Many of the things we see today in terms of alternative energy solutions could only be found in a science fiction novel or movie the likes of Star Wars or Isaac Asimov’s work. It appeared to me as a child at the time, that it would take hundreds of years to make the changes needed in those days. Boy we have come a long way in a short time.
Daily Routines To Simplify Green Living Practices
Living in an environmentally friendly way should be part of our daily routine therefore creating daily routines in the classroom will lead to children beginning to implement the ideas at home as well. It’s something everybody should strive to do something about, and I am very passionate to see schools start raising awareness of the simple things that everyone can do to protect our planet and environment. Suggestions of how to do this are many. Here I will touch upon a few that as a teacher you could use in the classroom with your students to get things started. Let’s make learning to live a greener lifestyle a compulsory part of the curriculum. It can only serve to teach self-sufficiency, as well as caring for the environment if ever there was a natural disaster and food and shelter was scarce.
Recycling Can Be Fun And Educational
After setting up a lesson structure on recycling, teachers set up a recycling program in the classroom so that all students can participate in it in a fun way and learn how to recycle. As a suggestion, use a series of boxes or bins of differing colours for the varying types of recycling to be done. For me, my personal choices are green for compost, yellow for recycling and red for non-recyclable items, but use whatever is suited to or more representative of your own communities recycling patterns.
Remember To Educate On Types Of Waste Suitable For Composting Or Not
Please bear in mind that food items that are prone to rotting and attracting flies, such as meat, cheeses, anything animal based, would not be considered able to be composted. While you wouldn’t put egg waste in a compost bin, you can however compost egg shells. Leave the compost bin outside the classroom instead of inside due to the smell they accumulate.
If you can, separate the recyclables a little more, select more colours and bins for this task. Yellow could be kept for the cans and plastic bottles of any sort. Blue might represent paper and cardboard items and so forth. There are many ways in which recycling can be organised.
Adding in another aspect, a white bin or large box would be very handy for the children to bring things in to school from home that would be recyclable. Just perfect and ready for those construction activities and projects, that could also be a part of the learning activities, to teach the children just how recycled items can be reused.
Devise An Assignment Or Have Them Construct Something From The Future
Why not develop an assignment for them to construct something purely from recycled items? Have them create new inventions, something imagined from the future, a future with a clean and safe environment, this would be fun and educational. Choose class monitors to be responsible for taking the recycling and general rubbish (red bin) to the larger bins found within the school grounds if the school participates in this kind of rubbish collection.
Get Outside And Into The Thick Of Things
Most students love the prospect of getting out of the classroom and doing activities outside. Outdoor lessons could incorporate an exercise where small groups work together to collect rubbish from the school grounds and record the number count of each type of rubbish and note whether it is recyclable or not before putting it in the bin. At the end the groups might gather and collate their information as a class on the whole. Encourage a discussion on just how much of the rubbish could have been recycled. They would most likely find the larger quantity to be the recyclable material. Get them to hypothesise what they expect it to be and consider their results.
There’s A Lesson In Everything
Of course I do encourage wearing gloves during this exercise. If collection is an issue, the exercise is still possible by just doing a tour of the school grounds and simply making a note of all of the different types. Same exercise, just done differently. The school would certainly benefit from a school clean up and students will be encouraged not to litter the school yard and eventually planet as well. Thus opening up a lesson on how long certain waste products take to break down or decompose. Another school project may have students participating in yearly community clean up days if that is available.
Let The Creative Juices Flow
For another lesson hold the class outside to just enjoy the sunshine and breathe in the fresh air. The teacher then invites a class discussion about what it feels like to have nice clean air and sunlight. Sit quietly and listen to the sounds heard, birds singing, bees buzzing, and feeling the stillness in the air. Perhaps incorporate a meditation or yoga exercise to encourage students to find peace in their surroundings and add another aspect to instilling a desire to protect the environment.
Help Them To Find Peace In Their Surroundings So They Won’t Want To Lost It
Try talking about the future implications of what might happen to that fresh air and sunlight if nothing is done in terms of caring for the environment before it’s too late. Get them to think about what would happen to the plant life and animal life should that air become too thick with pollution. Students should write some pleasant poetry or prose during this outdoor lesson depicting their thoughts about now and the possible futures of a healthy planet or a polluted planet.
Grow Their Minds And Plant The Seeds Of Thought
There is also something special about planting trees and gardening and seeing new life sprout out of the ground. For children to learn about how plants grow and contribute to the ecosystem, the concept of planting their own seeds and gardens, to grow trees and vegetables that can be admired or eaten even, lends more weight to discussions. Let alone a lesson or two in the care of plants, patience and long term effects of allowing our resources to become overused and then have to wait months, sometimes many years for new growth to become established to a point of usability.
Get The Community Involved
Why not have a planting party where each child can plant their own tree or seedling? There are some communities where the city council or landscaping companies offer free or low cost trees, Etc. especially native trees, for schools or even in the general community. Many council websites would have that information, or plan a visit to the local council to find out. Ask for donations from parents or companies that regularly sponsor the school.
Use The School Grounds To Teach Life Lessons, Not Just Theory
Start a school veggie garden and use the products that grow in a cooking lesson down the track, or make a healthy salad. Tending the garden, weeding, watering, watching the plants grow can be such an amazing feeling for the children to see something they’ve created and planted, sprout, develop and become something so precious in terms of the future of the Earth. If the school doesn’t have the space to plant gardens or trees, then perhaps look for a neighbouring park, playground or nature strip that permission may be gained to do this.
Teaching respect for nature at an early age so that they continue to respect it as they get older and move into adulthood is such an important lesson. There are so many other areas that lessons could be created from that veggie garden but I’ll leave those for another article.
Teaching At Home
Continuing this trend at home, the students might gift their parents on their birthday or mother’s/father’s day by planting a tree in the garden for them. I remember getting a tree from school when I was only about 8 years old and planting it in the garden of my family home. I drove past that old house many years later to find that tree still right in the middle of the front garden of the house. It was huge. I felt so proud and was so tempted to go and knock on their door and tell them I planted that tree some 30 years ago. I thought I’d best not do that just in case they thought I was a tad on the odd side and called the police or something.
But that is how significant the planting of one tree was to me and how it impacted my life to the point where I felt pride at the simple gesture of planting one single tree. When I was young I didn’t know that I would be contributing to helping the planet by planting that tree, but now I know more and I feel more motivated and encouraged, and even a little excited at the prospect of planting trees.
Where To Go From There
From this point, continue on with the lessons that relate in some way to the topic or unit of study. Other relevant topics to incorporate into this particular subject are other ways recycling might be used. For example, the article I wrote on Will-I-Am and 3D printing, global warming, the condition of the planet and the environment for future generations and us, energy conservation and alternative energy sources to name just a few.
Thank you for reading. If you are a teacher and are already incorporating these green living ideas for the classroom or other lessons into your planning, please feel free to leave a comment below and some suggestions for other teachers who will read this.
Global Education Image by jscreationzs from www.freedigitalphotos.com
Recycle Tree image courtesy digitalart from freedigitalphotos.com
Ladybug by digitalart from freedigitalphotos.com
This Is A Farmacy Image courtesy of David Wolfe’s Facebook page