The current era is primarily fixated on keeping up with technological developments, and while that is crucial, we often seem to forget that we are increasing the inequality between humans and nature. Instilling the value of connecting with nature from an early age is crucial to preventing children from becoming insensitive to the environment as they grow up and becoming caught up in the hustle and bustle of life.
Schools must actively work to support students in developing a positive relationship with nature as it is one of the most important learning environments. Frequent contact with nature has several benefits for young children, including improving their physical and mental health. There are fewer cases of asthma, depression and other disorders in children who spend more time outdoors. Views of the green landscape have been found to help students recover from stress and mental exhaustion.
For the same reason, Grow-Trees.com has introduced the project “Trees for monasteries and schools in the Himalayas” in Sikkim. This project was a small way to underscore the importance of expanding the green blanket around schools and other areas to encourage learning environments that are healthy, green and positive.
Nature can be included in the classroom by introducing activities that can help students be close to nature. An excellent way to get students to think about the feelings nature evokes is to hold some outdoor lessons and ask them to compare learning in a classroom versus learning in a natural setting. Another thoughtful exercise is to take students on field trips and encourage them to notice the sights and smells around them.
Taking a snack or lunch break outside and teaching children how to handle packaging or other garbage instead of polluting the environment can reinforce the importance of waste management for the environment and human health. Having plants in the classroom and encouraging students to give or plant trees on birthdays can be a great way to introduce children to sustainable and thoughtful greetings. Planning planting activities that students can even do at home can inspire parents to promote environmental awareness. What joy would it be if your children told you that they planted a lemon tree at school and that they would like to do so on their balcony or garden?
In many school settings, natural materials can provide fascinating sensory experiences. Using wooden blocks, twigs or small stones instead of plastic items or educational materials is a brilliant idea to introduce children to the variety of textures, shapes and colors found in nature.
These tips could be very helpful in teaching preschoolers about pro-environmental behavior and the benefits of being eco-friendly. However, environmental education should be included in the curriculum of high schools and colleges. When children can relate basic scientific concepts to the real world, learning becomes much more effective and sustainable. One example is understanding how certain pollutants harm marine life and subsequently affect our food supply.
The multidisciplinary nature of environmental studies further underscores its importance in school curricula. The subject covers a wide range of subjects such as social, cultural, physical and biological. Environmental solutions are also closely linked to social, political and economic impacts. Education about the environment is essential to a child’s holistic development, from learning about how natural resources and species respond to environmental changes to discovering how the environment plays an important role in cultures and customs.
Children will be able to find solutions to the environmental problems we currently face and will have a better understanding of how environmental and human welfare policies are created when they understand the origins of these problems. This activity is great for encouraging teamwork in the classroom and giving students a chance to think of innovative solutions.
Students need to learn about the environment and biodiversity so they don’t make the same mistakes we do. Little did we realize that we were trampling the environment for our own needs while trying to keep up with innovation and technology. Our youth must understand better. They should be educated about the importance of living in harmony with the environment.
Bikrant Tiwary is the CEO of Grow-Trees.com. Views are personal.
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