Making time for environmental issues in the school day is hard when the set curriculum dominates time. But eco-issues interest this generation. This has been seen, for example, in their responses to reducing plastic in school. Whilst I organized the action they took on the responsibility for seeing initiatives through. Everyday actions inspire doable environmentalism. Here are two examples from the end of term.
These composting bins were donated by parents or provided by a council initiative for schools. Two classes were selected to empty the class food caddies (snacks consisting of fruit) into these bins daily. Children signed up to be on a rota and twice a term we met to add paper and cardboard to the contents. No one missed their turn.
This is what it looked like inside the bin! A lot of squeals when ants were discovered amongst the rotting fruit and natural debris. The time came to spade it out into a wheelbarrow for spreading on our growing veg crates.
There was a lot of excitment as the group used tools to move the compost and ample opportunity to talk about the amazing compost we had made.
Here we are spreading the treasure we made onto our growing crates. No one had ever done this before. Children need to know that food does not just arrive in a plastic bag from the supermarket. There is a whole process of care from spade to plate that we can be part of.
2. We grew potatoes
Hand into the growing potato bag and what did you find? Harvesting our potatoes was really satisfying and everyone took some home. These were planted at the start of the pandemic and the children watered and checked them whilst in their bubble group.
From these two examples children came together to learn about dealing with food waste and how it can be reused to make food we can grow ourselves. Hopefully, this will teach them to not be wasteful of food in the future.
All this was possible in a school setting because the children were interested and eager. They learnt to organise themselves onto a rota, carry out caddy duties and use tools such as spades safely. This is real life learning and needs to be seen as enhancing curriculum if we are to create eco-minded children.