Blog Action Day: Teaching Kids that it’s Never Too Early To Care about Climate Change.
Today the blogosphere marks BLOG ACTION DAY with a very timely and appropriate theme: Climate Change. I will be the first to admit that for the longest time, I was apathetic to the issue, always just believing that being an individual, I can only do so much. Also, being a big fan of the comforts and luxury that modern life has brought, I often forget to think twice about how my actions today can affect future generations. It also has not dawned on me until now how much we lose if we don’t start caring. However, in light of recent events not just in the Philippines but around the world, it hit me that I AM AN INDIVIDUAL THAT CAN MAKE CHANGE. And simply by caring enough, even my one small contribution can lead to a solution to the negative effect climate change has already brought us.
Going beyond just what I can do myself, I realized that my platform, both as a blogger and a teacher, can hopefully snowball into something bigger than me. Though I may be teaching preschoolers, I have to instill in them that its never too early to care about climate change. I figured, training them as early as now to watch out for their actions and strike a good balance between enjoying modern technologies and lessening our collective carbon footprints in this world. I’d like to believe that this will make a marked difference in their lives. As a Bible verse says, Train up a child the way he should go and when he grows old, he shall never depart from it. Similarly, learning theorists say that through conditioning, behaviors can become automatic.
So what I am doing as a teacher about climate change is implementing little changes and adjustments to my routine in the classroom. These include:
1. Teaching my 3-5 year olds how to segregate trash. Most classrooms only have one trash bin. I propose that we start adding a few more so we can show kids what “biodegradable” and “nonbiodegradable” is. It is a well-known fact that we are contributing to global warming everyday by consuming more and more plastic products that are often thrown away callously. These plastics take years to break down and in the meantime, it clogs up our drainage systems and piles up in dump sites. I have three small boxes in the corner of my room now. Each one is labeled with a photo which allows the kids to know what should go where. There’s one for paper, one for juice cartons/bottles/tetra packs, and one for tissues and similar waste products.
2. Incorporating recycled materials in everyday activities. I used to love a fresh new sheet of paper. I’d make sure I’d have a stack of these papers on hand for what ever activity/exercise I do in class. Using scratch paper was a rarity for me. I used to say that it would be a shame to have the kids make a great painting/drawing that cannot be fully appreciated because the markings on the backside of the paper that is recycled can be seen. Now, the kids do not have fresh papers all the time. In place, I have a box of used papers (from reports and papers of my college students) that they can use for scribbling, writing exercises and similar drills. Also, other materials such as toilet paper rolls, P.E.T. bottles and empty jars have found its way to the arts and crafts table.
3. Reminding the children to turn off the lights and electric fan/airconditioner when we leave the room. I have to admit, I am guilty of leaving electricity on when I step out of my room, rationalizing that I’ll be back shortly. However, sometimes it is a good 20 minutes before I return. A full-20 minutes of waste!
4. “Green”ifying my classroom! I’ll be honest, I still need ideas on how to do this better, but for now, I will try to have a greener classroom by lessening the use of plastic materials (i.e. containers, food items that come in such containers, styrofoam, straw, etc.). I will also continue to hold on to the belief that I should not use food items as art materials (i.e. vegetables for vegetable prints, macaroni for painting and stringing, etc.).
In the next few weeks, I hope to explore more ways I can make my classroom greener for me, the kids and the future to come. Perhaps I can add some experiments to my science lesson plans to illustrate climate change. I can also try to find more storybooks on global warming, recycling, caring for the earth and climate change. Do you have any suggestions? What are you doing to teach your kids about climate change.
Oh, and before I forget, one thing I will be doing beyond this Blog Action Day post on Climate Change is being an example to my little preschoolers.
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