Let’s teach children about the importance about the environmental movement. For it has never been stronger. Every day, more people join in by greening their lifestyles and creating a more sustainable future. Some schools, however, are still behind the curve. From producing tons of food waste per year to keeping paper records and files, many education systems haven’t yet felt the momentum of change.
Luckily, there are many ways in which schools can begin to go green and teach young children the importance of creating a sustainable future for themselves and those around them. As they begin to adopt new methods and create greener learning environments, children may discover a deep passion for conservation. In this way, education systems and parents can raise up the next generation of environmental leaders. The world could always use more of those.
1. Eat Clean
What your child eats for lunch says a lot about how green a school is. For instance, if lunchroom meals consist of milk in plastic bottles and pizza, odds are good sourcing local and ethical food isn’t a huge priority. On the other hand, if the school takes pride in serving healthy lunches with fruits, vegetables and minimal packaging, they likely prioritize a green system.
Refuse to support unhealthy lunches by sending your child to school with a homemade one instead.
2. Get Dirty
Schools might also green their system by planting a garden and incorporating it into their daily lesson plan. This way, students can learn about where food comes from and how to better care for the earth.
Furthermore, if the garden is large enough, schools can begin harvesting the fruits and vegetables to use in school lunches. Doing so will also teach kids the importance of sourcing food locally, eating nutritious food and reducing food miles and their carbon footprints.
3. Incorporate Outdoor Play
In addition to spending more time outside in a garden, students should also spend time engaging in outdoor play. While cyber students may spend more time outdoors thanks to flexible schedules, public school children may get less than an hour for recess.
Schools can prioritize outdoor time by offering a longer recess and maybe intermittent outdoor breaks throughout the day. Doing so will allow children more time to explore nature and ponder the bugs, dirt and plants on the playground.
4. Prioritize Energy Efficiency
Teachers have a big role to play when it comes to improving a school’s energy efficiency. From shutting the lights off at the end of the day to avoiding blocking heaters, each one has a responsibility to conserve energy.
On a larger scale, however, a school system may consider switching to solar power or more energy-efficient appliances throughout the building. This will help lower energy bills and reduce the building’s carbon emissions.
5. Foster Sustainability
In every area of education, school systems should be looking for sustainable options. This includes sustainable furnishings, building materials, school supplies and even playground equipment. Teachers also have opportunities to create unique learning environments that unite education and community involvement.
By tying together local businesses, farms and nonprofits with school programs, the education system can successfully encourage and foster sustainability.
6. Embrace Digital
Schools can also create a more sustainable future by taking a digital approach. Greener systems may include storing files digitally, printing only double-sided pages and assigning homework on the computer. Doing so will model to students the importance of conserving resources and taking advantage of the technology available to them. However, staff should be diligent in remembering to turn off monitors to save energy at the end of the day as well.
7. Emphasize Recycling
When your child tosses something in the garbage bin, do they know where it goes? Many young children aren’t aware of the journey their trash takes and that it eventually ends up in fragile ecosystems like the ocean or in landfills. By teaching children the importance of recycling and reusing and the journey their trash takes, education systems can green their everyday procedures. This may include setting up recycling bins throughout the building or even creating a compost bin.
8. Get Crafty
School staff might also find additional ways to incorporate recycling and reusing into the classroom. They can do this by introducing crafts that turn old items into new, useable ones.
Upcycling crafts teach children the importance of using what they already have and using their imagination and creative genius to benefit both themselves and the earth. Moreover, they’ll likely begin to look for ways to upcycle outside of the classroom, reducing waste at home and at school.Make Your Voice Heard
As you engage your children on the importance of the environment in discussions. Especially about their time at school, you may begin to notice certain aspects that could use your green thumb. Reach out to other parents and brainstorm ways to green your education system. Then, hold a meeting with teachers and school staff to discuss some of your ideas.
Expressing interest in and being willing to support a greener future may just be the push your school needs to make the leap to a more sustainable system.