Teaching sustainability during early childhood is important and provides children with great tools to connect with the environment while letting them understand how and why it is important to take care of our planet. The earlier we begin to introduce environmentally sustainable education, the earlier it lets our children develop and hone those skills that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Helping our children learn about living sustainably does not have to be a difficult process! There are countless ways to introduce this topic into your curriculum from kindergarten to graduation – and we can have fun while doing it!
To start off, let’s first answer this simple question; What is Sustainability? When it comes to the environment, there is a lot of talk about living sustainably. Living a sustainable lifestyle means having ownership by accepting responsibility and taking good care of Mother Earth. By taking the right steps and precautions now, we can ensure that all the beautiful things that our planet has to offer, like the coral reefs, will be around for future generations to enjoy. A great starting point is with the element that provides life for all living creatures – water!
Understanding the water cycle and the importance of having clean and plentiful water can be difficult when all we must do is turn on a tap and clean water comes pouring out. Use the Water Cycle Wheels to show the four stages that water must go through – evaporation, condensation, precipitation and collection/runoff. Talk to your class about how water is a finite resource and why water conservation is important in our day to day lives. Share some tips on saving water, like turning off the water while they brush their teeth or helping fill the dishwasher before starting it!
Another great way to start a conversation about environmental sustainability can be summed up with a phrase we all know: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! For example, here at Quality Classrooms, a couple of ways that we do our part is by offering lifetime warranty furniture and carrying a large variety of Eco-Friendly products that focus on sustainability to minimize our eco-footprint. These products contain all-natural, recycled or alternative materials and are shipped in biodegradable or recyclable packaging without plastic. Just by opening them with your class, you can jump into a lesson on sustainable materials and the impact that they have on the environment. Start a discussion with your class on things that they do in their daily lives that reduces waste.
The Green Toys line has created a variety of toys that are made of 100% recycled plastics, like milk jugs! Using these products in your classroom gives a physical example that recycling can result in something meaningful and that our old stuff can become new again. Using 100% recycled products in your class creates a perfect opportunity to start a dialogue about how what we do can have an impact on the environment. Whether that is bringing a reusable lunch bag and water bottle or making sure our recyclable products make it into the right bin. Ask your students to brainstorm ideas on how to make your classroom a greener place!
Let us know your favourite ways to go green in the comments below!