5 Reasons To Teach Kids About The Environment

Today’s guest blog post has been written by Alice Glass from Alice in Methodologyland.

Alice in her classroom saying hello.

Environment.

Such a scary word, right? Why do we feel existential dread whenever we hear someone mention the words ‘environment’, ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change’?

The answer is very simple – we know how polluted nature is, so mentioning these word makes us feel something I like to call ‘global guilt’, and some people even feel environmental anxiety.

However, these issues are ubiquitous. They are all around us, in conversation and in the media. Overcoming the ‘global guilt’ and environmental anxiety can happen in one way only – we need to reconnect with nature. It sounds very straightforward, but where and how do we start?

Keep reading for five reasons to teach your kids about environmental issues and solutions in English. We’ll also consider why you and your child should reconnect with nature online or face-to-face.

1. Discuss nature, not environmental disasters

Problem:

There is a lot of natural devastation, ecosystem destruction and many other terrible things happening to the environment every day.

Solution:

Pay attention to local things, things that your child can participate in and things you have an impact on. That might be something small like cleaning the park, or something big, like hosting a competition, or a presentation regarding animal and plant species found locally.

An activity where the kids collect leaves they find.

Why is this solution beneficial for your child?

Your child will have a chance to explore, investigate, and learn new things, while also becoming a small Earthling, aka the planet protector. Involving your child in local activities will help build its confidence and the desire to make a change in adulthood.

2. Grab every possible opportunity to interact with nature

Problem:

There are not enough green spaces or natural ecosystems in the city so we cannot connect with the environment easily.

Solution:

Explore any trees on the street while passing by, name them, take photos so you can search and identify them online or use an identification app, explore flowers you see in people’s yards, be nice to the little creepy crawlies, make an insect hotel or a bee bath on your window – the possibilities are endless.

A fun activity using dinosaur toys.

Why is this solution beneficial for your child?

This will help your child realise that nature is all around us and that we are cohabiting the planet along with plants and animals, which ultimately makes us equal.

3. Make small green changes every day

Problem:

You have no time to make sure all of your products are ‘green’. There is a lot of plastic hanging out in your house.

Solution:

Have your child help you with the grocery list. Your child can be a low-waste explorer or an eco-warrior in the store, looking for product alternatives that are not packaged with plastic. You can also make a chart to track your consumer habits.

Alice teaching a class of inquisitive kids.

Why is this solution beneficial for your child?

These activities enhance many 21st century skills, starting from critical thinking, creativity, environmental activism to communication, problem-solving and collaboration.

4. Outdoor learning is the way to go

Problem:

We talk about nature without even talking about nature. How is that even possible, you might ask? We are so distanced from the actual natural world, and we are accustomed to living our lives in large, cement cities where our only touch with nature is a piece of grass or a small park.

Solution:

Practice outdoor learning as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to get dirty, and let the child explore a local pond, forest, swamp, or beach, and get to know some natural ecosystems first hand.

An activity to identify objects found in nature.

Why is this solution beneficial for your child?

Your child will explore the natural world through the 4 senses and also have an amazing sensory experience (touching different textures, exploring the sounds of nature, and more).

5. Free online English language workshops for your child with an environmental twist

Problem:

You want your child to learn scientific facts about the environment in an engaging way, developmentally appropriate for a child, but you are not a content expert.

Solution:

Join elloquent.org and attend some free workshops that happen every month. At least two themes will be related to the environment and this program will always stay free.

A map of Lapland from one of Alice's classes

Why is this solution beneficial for your child?

Your child will have a chance to meet children from all over the world from Poland, Nigeria, and Turkey to Spain, the UK, Mongolia, and more! The workshops gather around children from all over the world and this is why we get different perspectives and ideas!

By following these 5 solutions, you can easily improve your family life and reconnect with nature in a way that will bring you serenity, without causing existential dread in children. The ultimate goal is to educate your child in a developmentally appropriate way and ensuring that our children are ready to be change-makers one day.

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to explore Alice’s online school for children, elloquent.org (launching in July 2021), or if you are interested in reading more about environmental education for children, explore Alice’s articles and the special section on her blog dedicated to environmental education.

Have a happy Halloween!

Some of the fun workshops coming up this Halloween!
Some of the exciting Halloween-themed workshops coming up in October.
Alice holding some sequential phrases: first, next, then, last.

About Alice (Milica)

Milica Vukadin (Alice) is an English teacher with a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education, with a double minor (English teaching methodology for young learners and Serbian language teaching methodology). She is also a young but published academic researcher, teacher trainer, and materials designer.

She is passionate about using storytelling, drama, and music in her language workshops. Her other passions include interculturalism and environmental education.

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