What's the ambiental education? What are the keys to integrating it into the lives of children from home and from schools? We spoke with the infant teacher Conxi Arlandis, who participates in the Teachers for Future environmental movement, to help us understand and raise awareness about the great importance that environmental education must take in our children's learning.
When we talk about environmental education, we mean a comprehensive process that goes beyond just offering children new information and knowledge. It tries to provide a space for reflect on habits that we have and the way in which they affect the environment that surrounds us.
We must be aware that some of our daily actions can have a very negative impact on the planet, so it is about transforming them into more positive actions that benefit our environment.
In addition, it seeks to promote in children a sense of responsibility in caring for the environment that surrounds them. In this way, thanks to the fact that the little ones begin to be more sensitive to environmental issues current, we get to call the action. They are expected to get involved in the fight against climate change.
Education is generally based on 5 bases that we talk about below:
1. Environmental education must last a lifetime
3-year-olds may not be able to define the exact meaning of 'environmental education'. However, they do know that we should not leave the tap running while we brush our teeth or that we cannot forget to turn off the light when we leave the house.
Environmental education begins in the early years and should continue into adult life. This is the only way for all adults to get involved in the much-needed care of the environment.
For this to be effective, it must be adapted to the child's evolutionary and knowledge moment. In this way, when children are younger we must teach them the great value of the life of all living beings in nature. As they grow, we can make them more involved in the characteristics of the landscapes, how they change throughout the year, the energy that natural elements such as water or the sun can give us ...
2. It is not a specific subject, but a transversal competence
Should there be a subject in the school curriculum that teaches children to take care of the planet? Rather, it is about extending the objectives of environmental education to all subjects, in a transversal way. And it is that from any subject we can take advantage to raise awareness and create sensitivity among the little ones.
For example, from Physical Education we can organize a day of hiking through the countryside, from Language we can ask them to write their observations on certain elements and from Natural Sciences the different plant species they find.
3. We must give children tools to get involved
Environmental education seeks to empower children and become aware of the need to make a change in habits. This means giving them the tools so that they themselves have the capacity to respond to current needs and get involved in different actions.
4. Put children in contact with nature
If we do not give children the opportunity to know the natural, we cannot expect them to want to be involved in it. Therefore, it is important that we organize outings to different natural environments that bring children closer to nature. In this way, they will learn to value its importance in our well-being and health.
5. Encourage children to be active and involved
From environmental education we must provide opportunities for children to get involved in caring for the environment, but also in solving all current climate problems.
And how can we integrate environmental education into the daily lives of our students and children? Here are some ideas that can be implemented
- Organize a school garden
Thanks to the urban garden we are able to bring nature closer to children who live in cities. In addition to the manual skills that we can work with, the little ones learn first-hand how plants grow, what changes there are with the passing of the seasons ...
- Pass on good habits from childhood
Separate waste according to the container needed to recycle it, change the bathrooms for showers, put aside single-use plastics ... If the child normalizes these customs from a young age, they will repeat them for the rest of his life.
- Set an example
In order to create awareness in children, we adults must be the first to be aware. Only in this way can our behavior and our attitude of activism inspire children to change their polluting habits.
In the case of the school environment, it should be sought to involve the entire educational community: both the management of the center and the teachers and parents.
- Carry out eco-audits of our day to day
Do you know what eco-audits are? It is about stopping for a moment to reflect and analyze our habits and behaviors to discover if they have a positive or negative impact on our environment. From the information obtained, we can improve our day to day.
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