We all want our kids to be happy and successful, but it’s easy to forget that as parents we also have a responsibility to raise socially aware children who know how to do their bit for the community. With Earth Day coming up on the 22nd April, there are countless kids activities that will instil valuable lessons in our little ones to make sure they grow up with a robust social conscience.
Tessa’s school has introduced a number of education programmes aimed at teaching students about the environment, nature, and sustainability. One great initiative has been the implementation of a student-run vegetable garden. Once a week, Tessa’s class takes part in a tour of the garden and the kids get to learn about the value of sustainably-grown produce. Tessa is absolutely fascinated with the way the food is grown, and she loves hearing about the natural ways people have been feeding themselves for centuries without the use of plastics and pesticides.
Another clever initiative has been the recycling programme her school has started. At the end of every week, Tessa and her class go through the classroom craft bin and decide what can be re-used in the classroom, what can be put in the recycling bin, and what has to be put in the regular bin. Tessa was very surprised to learn how many perfectly useful materials were being thrown away and wasted, and she loves thinking up new craft projects to utilise the “rubbish” so it won’t be thrown away.
At home, Earth Day has given me an opportunity to think about ways I might decrease our household’s carbon footprint and daily wastage, and how I can involve Tessa and Jessica so they can be more environmentally aware too. Here are some ideas I have started to implement.
- Recycling sessions: the girls and I have been going through the recycling together and deciding if there is anything we can keep for their craft box. Jessica has come up with some great ideas for re-using our old egg cartons and toilet rolls!
- Plastic free lunches: I have been cutting back on the amount of plastic packaging I allow into Tessa’s school lunchbox, and reducing the number of packaged snacks I give to Jessica to teach the girls about reducing waste.
- Environmentally-friendly shopping: I have been bringing the girls shopping with me and asking them to help pick out the most environmentally-friendly products. We have already switched detergents, laundry liquid, and toilet paper!
I’ve been really pleased with how quickly Tessa and Jessica have taken to thinking about how human beings impact the environment: much quicker than many adults I know! Please leave a comment with your suggestions on environmental education and teaching little ones to be sustainable.