8 Concrete Ways To Help Children Adopt Empathy Towards The Environment

Humans have caused enough harm to the environment and we are paying a heavy price for it. To halt the damage, we really need to rope in the younger generation who will inherit the planet.

Humans have caused enough harm to the environment and we are paying a heavy price for it. To halt the damage, we really need to rope in the younger generation who will inherit the planet.

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”― Albert Einstein

Nature is beautiful and needs to be preserved. It provides us with everything we need when we love and nurture it. On the other hand, the same nature can show us its fury if abused. Lately, we have been witnessing its fury in the form of unexpected natural calamities and global warming primarily due to excessive pollution and exploitation of natural resources.

Humans have caused enough harm to the environment and we are paying a heavy price for it. We cannot reverse the effect of our actions, however, we can work towards restoring the damage done. The best people to be looped in towards this cause are the younger generation who will inherit the planet.

According to me ‘Environment Preservation’ should be integrated with the core subjects’ right from preschool. When we reinforce the importance of Environment Preservation in children from a young age, they will be conscious of the decisions they make and they will also correct the older generation around them when they see them doing things that are harmful to the environment. What we need is a conscious set of youngsters to take over the baton and drive it through.

For instance, in Preschool Year 4, children explore different leaves, observe their shapes and colours (shades of green) and study their parts. They observe how the leaves are uniquely different from each other. The concept of ‘recycling’ is also reinforced where they create posters to generate awareness about the importance of 3Rs – ‘reduce, reuse and recycle.’

One of the underlying principles of our curriculum design process is the Multiple Intelligence Theory wherein Naturalistic Intelligence is used to process information about the world around – flora and fauna.

Ways of creating environment preservation awareness around you are:

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Environmental clubs

Your school can form an Environment Club or become a part of an existing one in the vicinity and conduct activities like setting up a recycling system in the school cafeteria, creating a small organic garden that will provide fresh vegetables for the school cafeteria, supporting local wildlife and reducing carbon dioxide in the air by planting trees, shrubs and flowers on school grounds. These are some of the ways of integrating environment preservation as part of the school curriculum.

School-Led participation in cleanliness drives

Schools can have their cleanliness drive where children make sure that the school premises are kept clean. This will also be helpful in setting an example for others.

Environment preservation as part of school curriculum

When we teach ‘Water’ as an EVS topic for primary classes, we can organise a trip to cover local water bodies like lakes, rivers etc. We can teach children about the situation right now wherein there is a dearth of water and encourage them to think of ways to conserve water like water harvesting for the future.

Create environment-friendly policies

Schools should make sure they have environmental policies that they follow in school and students should be educated on the same. They can install solar panels so children can actually see these practices from close quarters.

Environment preservation posters

Schools have adequate space where artwork and posters can be displayed to make it a part of their subconscious learning. One corner can be dedicated to Environmental Preservation where students, teachers and parents can contribute to the same with posters, drawings, poems and latest articles.

‘Adopt a Plant’ Program

Schools can have a program where they adopt one plant in school and at home and take a pledge to provide complete care to it, with or without the help of a gardener.

Teach children to have empathy towards living creatures

Empathy is an important value that schools need to inculcate in children. They need to understand that all living creatures need to be looked after. This can be imparted through stories and role play where children become animals, plants or insects. Various themes can be explored through these events like a discussion on extinct animals, the role of insects in the natural ecosystem and so on.

Earmark days for the environment

Organise special events like “Kids Walk to School Day” or “Create No Trash Day” involving parents also. You can also celebrate World Environment Day with much aplomb to instil the feeling of gratitude in children with respect to the environment.

Simple steps today will help nurture the next breed of humans to be more sensitive, thankful and loving to the environment. Let them not miss out on the simple joys of nature that we have all experienced.

Image via Pixabay

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