The land is where our roots are.The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.
Over the last 3 years the toddler classroom and I have undergone a huge change. We have both become Montessori followers and taken small steps to become friendlier to the environment. Three years ago there was plastic everywhere you looked in the classroom, a host of flashcards were used and (to my own shame) I threw out tons of paper weekly! I used to think the plastic was convenient to clean, the flashcards were the best method of teaching English, and as a self confessed neat freak, I hated seeing the useless bits of paper around the classroom.
Then as I started to learn about the Montessori method of teaching, and I realised that the little bodies passing through my classroom will at some point inherit the world, it dawned on me how important it was that the classroom and I both do something to help create a healthier Earth!
Not only was I a role model for these amazing 0-3 children but also they are the perfect age for learning all about their world and how to take care of it, especially as they enter into their sensitive period for order. Slowly, out went the plastic trays and plastic flowers, in came the wooden trays, the wicker baskets and fresh flowers.
We said good riddance to the flashcards and started to use as many real objects as possible or teach through songs, dancing, story time and other concrete methods. Finally we started to recycle those bits of paper which turned out to be not so useless after all, as the children use them for art projects.
Although we have started to make some changes we still have a long way to go, we would like to introduce water conservation to the children, encourage natural cleaning products and harness the power of solar energy. The future looks much greener for myself and the toddler classroom and this attitude will certainly rub off on the toddlers who are the inheritors of what we build in our lifetime.
Educators and parents are the first line of defence in ensuring the next generation makes a connection with the environment and learn how to responsibly protect the world around them. Go for nature walks, build a garden, have a zero waste policy, if possible, walk to school. Treat one day a month like it is ‘Earth day’ and capture the child’s imagination by the fun and hands on ways to show them how to care for their environment.
5 Tips to Make a Small Start
This is such a small word for such a huge topic, you can recycle so many things; plastics, unwanted food, clothing and the list goes on. In the classroom you can recycle paper so easily. Children’s paper cuttings can be used to form part of other art projects such as making a collage.
2、Become Green Fingered
Plants are great for improving air quality and also give children a sense of responsibility as they need to care for another living organism. Ensure you check to see if the plants are safe for the classroom first. Having fresh flowers in the classroom for the children to arrange also helps the child have a sense of pride in their environment.
Responsibly recycle all those plastic items and instead use ceramic, metal, wood and glass.
4、Become a Hoarder!
Save those pasta and jam jars, clean them out as they make great vases or could be used to hold writing implements in the classroom.
5、Let the light in
Sometimes a teacher wants to decorate the classroom with the children’s great art work and chooses to use the window, although this is lovely it can also block the light. On a bright sunny day let the light shine in by making sure blinds and curtains are pulled right back so perhaps you can turn off the light switches and save some electricity and reduce your carbon footprint.
Only when the last tree has died,and the last river has been poisoned,and the last fish has been caught,will we realized that we can’t eat money.