Involving schoolchildren in environment friendly activities will help them grow into aware citizens of the planet who can also make a difference to their communities
“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”
― Albert Einstein
Nature is beautiful and needs to be preserved. Nature, when taken care of, provides us with everything we need but it can also express its fury if abused. Lately we have been witness to the fury – with the forest fires, drought, excessive rainfall and its attendant problems. Excessive pollution and exploitation of resources is also causing immense environmental damage.
An important thing is: Though we cannot reverse the effect of our actions, we can work towards restoring the damage done, looping in the best people. In this effort we have to also include the younger generation that will inherit the planet.
‘Environment preservation’ should be integrated with core subjects right from preschool. When we reinforce the importance of environment preservation in children from a young age, they will be conscious of the decisions they make. They will also correct their elders when they see them doing things that are harmful for the environment. What we need is a conscious set of youngsters to take on this mantle and drive it through.
How can schools do it? In some preschools children are encouraged to be as close to nature: explore the leaves of a plant, observe their shapes and colours (shades of green) and study their parts. They observe how each plant is uniquely different from the other. The concept of ‘recycling’ is also reinforced with children creating posters to generate awareness about the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling.
Here are eight ways of creating environment preservation awareness
1.Environmental clubs – Your school can form an environmental club or become a part of an existing one in the vicinity and conduct activities around environment preservation.These could include setting up a recycling system in the school cafeteria, planting a small organic garden that will provide fresh vegetables for the cafeteria. Children can also support local wildlife and reduce CO2 in the atmosphere by planting trees, shrubs and flowers in the school playground.
2.Cleanliness drives – Schools can have cleanliness drives on campus where children make sure that everything is kept clean and litter free. From classes to school playgrounds – they should be made to feel responsible for keeping all areas spotlessly clean. They should also be encouraged to participate in cleanliness drives in their communities.
3.Embedding environmental preservation in the curriculum – Schools can also make sure children start learning about environment preservation from an early age. If children are being taught about water as an EVS (environmental studies) topic then teachers can cover local water bodies like lakes and rivers. They can apprise the children about water scarcity and ask them to creatively think of ways to conserve water by water harvesting, innovate means to keep water bodies clean and so on.
4.Environment friendly policies – Schools should make sure they have environmental policies that they follow in school and students should be educated on the same. They can install solar panels so children can actually see and experience environment friendly practices daily.
5.Environment preservation posters created digitally – schools have adequate space where display screens can be placed to run digital posters, artwork, etc. to make it a part of their subconscious learning. One corner can be dedicated to environmental preservation where students, teachers and parents can contribute to the same with digital posters, drawings, poems, latest articles, etc.
6.Adopt a plant programme: Schools can have a programmes to adopt one plant in school and one at home and take pledge to provide complete care to it with the help of a gardener or parents and others.
7.Teach children to have empathy for living creatures – Empathy is an important value that schools need to inculcate in children. They need to understand that all living creatures need to be looked after. This can be imparted through stories and role play where children become animals, plants or insects. Ask them how they would feel if their homes and habitats are destroyed.
8.Have special days dedicated to the environment – Organise special events like a ‘kids walk to school day’ or ‘create no trash day” involving parents too.