If you would like to be a good example and role model for kids on sustainability, be it at home, in the classroom, or for your nieces and nephews, you can start by teaching them how to respect nature, to be mindful of all the waste they’re creating, and so on. Their future will have plenty of sustainability jobs – so teach your kids!
In short, there are so many ways to teach them all about our planet, how to treat it respectfully, and how to best deal with sustainability. And at the same time, they can have fun learning it and doing it.
Take a look at a few quick pointers to do so. Here are five tips to get started with teaching children about sustainability, and this is all geared towards younger audiences:
1. Lead by giving the good example
2. Make learning about sustainability fun
3. Get all kids really involved
4. Read about sustainability to them
5. Volunteer in a sustainability program together with the kids
For more mature audiences, the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University has produced some pretty good suggestions on how to best teach about issues concerning sustainability:
1. Be aware of possible student overload
2. Avoid addressing doom and gloom
3. Focus on issues related to quality of life
4. Stimulate support and peer engagement
5. Focus on student analysis of relevant data
6. Don’t engage in eco-rhetoric
7. Use the precautionary principle
8. Encourage and embrace interdisciplinarity
If you feel that this sounds like a few solid pointers, but you’re not sure how to best implement these issues in practice, take a closer look at some great resources that offer detailed concepts and classroom plans:
The Center for Ecoliteracy. This is a non-profit organization that is focusing on the advancement of ecological education in elementary and secondary education. They think the best way to learn to live in a sustainable way is to teach ‘smart by nature’, which includes teaching the following basic ideas throughout any curriculum and at any grade level: children must experience the world in its natural settings; they need to learn how life is sustained by nature and how to nurture healthy communities.
They must learn to recognize the effects and implications of how to eat and live (footprint); and how to best know and understand the places where we learn, live, and work. The Center for Ecoliteracy is offering tons of material and information that cover all sorts of environmental issues, strategies, instructional tools, and philosophical fundamentals.
Facing the Future. This is a non-profit that is creating tools that educators can use to motivate and equip students for building global awareness, developing their critical reasoning skills, and get engaged in positive solutions towards a sustainable and rewarding future. Facing the Future offers various curricula that covers issues relating to environmental, economic, and social circumstances, and comes up with great sustainable solutions to these questions.
The National Wildlife Federation. This organization is explaining in what way Eco-Schools USA can best benefit your educational institution.
The National Wildlife Federation offers a free program that’s designed to support schools in their efforts to improve their academic performance, conserve resources, and save money at the same time.
They explain how to make your school ‘green’ on the inside and outside, and throughout your school’s curriculum. You can be awarded an ‘Eco-School Certificate’ which is connected to your educational curriculum, and which requires you to complete a seven-steps sustainability awareness program.
The Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation (CELF). It is this organization’s mission to integrate sustainability throughout all children’s K-12 learning experience. The Teaching Sustainability section of the organization’s Yes! The magazine includes many resources on the best way to build a healthy planet. a robust economy, and a just and healthy world for all. Take a look at all the help available at the CELF resource center.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA offers a great online program (Students and Sustainability) geared towards teachers wanting to implement concepts and ideas regarding sustainability in their curricula, and there’s a wealth of information for students who require some guidance when working on their sustainability research and development projects.
The Green Education Foundation. If you want to do some hands-on projects in spring, check out this non-profit organization that’s dedicated to developing and maintaining a sustainable planet through an education project called ‘the garden as a teaching tool’. The Green Education Foundation is presenting the garden as a fantastic place to teach all about sustainability and offers children lessons in biodiversity, conservation, and ecology. Would you know of other techniques that can be used to teach our children more about sustainability?