As the world grows older and the population increases it is essential that communities pull together to recognise the importance of sustainability and are proactive in combatting climate change. The environment that a child grows up in heavily impacts their attitude, beliefs and outlook for the rest of their life not to mention the effect it has on the planet in turn.
In order to raise little green thumbs who are aware, proactive, concerned and innovative there are several simple and informed actions that can be taken. Although educational, these actions often include activities that are fun and new experiences for our children.
- Feed kitchen scraps to animals e.g. chickens, worms
- Watering plants both inside and outside with water from water tanks
- Gardening, including picking vegetables for meals
- Capturing, measuring and investigating rain to highlight climate change through weather and seasonal progression
- Hands on recycling experiences, sorting items in bins for general waste, recycling and garden waste
- Planting trees in the garden
- Reusing everyday items for new purposes
- Observing animals and insects in their natural environment e.g. a butterfly in its cocoon
- Simply playing in mud, appreciating the outdoors and using their imagination.
For a child, learning about nature is greatly impacted by their age, parent’s opinions, the media, discussions, their knowledge and the knowledge and inherent opinions of their peers. Often these elements are all based on what our children learn as toddlers through to pre-schoolers, being their most impressionable age. It is fundamental that this is recognised and that activities are used to engage children in their environment.
Several Early Years Learning outcomes can be achieved by these activities including: the children becoming more connected with and contributing to their world, building positive dispositions and approaches towards learning, having a strong sense of wellbeing, learnt skills such as problem solving, enquiring, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating and children becoming more effective communicators.
Often fundamental principles are also picked up such as security, respect, reciprocal relationships and expectations. A deep respect for nature can also be achieved with increased awareness as well as better nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
As children are the future leaders of our planet, teaching them respect of the environment at such a young age can have nothing but a positive impact for the future of the planet!