How about setting your kids a task of monumental proportions that will empower your kids, teach them about leadership, encourage those entrepreneurial skills and get them thinking green? Well, giving them the tools to help make their school green will be a great way to do this! Your young eco warrior of the future will come to life with ideas, thoughts and plans that can change their school for the good! And even better, they would have been the ones to do it!
While a lot of schools are getting into the idea of greening their schools, there are still many who haven’t had the time or resources to do it. Every child, regardless of age should be getting some environmental education as they’re our next generation to protect our planet. So what to do, what to do? Aha, give your kids the chance to make a real change to their world. You’ll be amazed at what they can achieve.
We’re going to give you some ideas of how you can empower your kids to be the leaders of environmental education in their school. Not only does this teach them about the environment of course, but they’ll build self-confidence in their abilities and of course get those entrepreneurial minds ticking over – what a win!
Where oh where to start?
If you consider the whole idea of greening the school, it could seem a bit overwhelming. Where in the world to start? Your kids can’t change the whole school in a day, so the best way to start, as with anything, is at the beginning! Ah, there we go.
First thing to consider is what needs fixing and the kids need to hone those detective skills to get the lowdown. Charge your kids with the task of finding out what is currently happening! How much waste is the school producing, are they recycling and how much, are there any energy efficiencies in place. Once they know these things, you can guide them in taking the next step to making it happen. Another reason for approaching it in this way is that as the programmes start to take on a life of their own, they’ll be able to actually measure their success and see how their ideas have helped to change the planet, one tiny step at a time. Sounds pretty good!
If you’re going to start at the beginning, you need to think about what the most basic of greening projects are. Got it yet? Well think recycling, composting or planting trees. These projects are actually some of the simplest ways to kick off that greening project.
Start the investigation
Get your kids to talk to people in the school, whether it’s people who prepare food, look after the school grounds or are in charge of the school buildings. This way they’ll be able to find out all the things that can be fixed or improved upon quickly. Once they’ve dug out the dirt, get them to set a list of goals, of what they want to achieve and by when. It can be their ‘environmental wish list’. This is the start to making it happen.
Once this has been done, it’s time to talk to the big guns – the people who are in charge of the school. By getting your child to ‘own’ this and talk to the people that make decisions, they are building life skills – one on top of the other. Also, if they also go to the school with a proper plan, the school is much more likely to buy into it.
The kids are in charge!
So, your child has presented the plan, and they’ve got a massive grin, pat on the back and a big fat ‘Yes’ to start. First job, done and dusted. Now they need to get people on board. You can help them to create some ideas of how to do this – is it talking at an assembly, putting posters up around the school to recruit members for an environmental club or could it be that it is communicated in school newsletters? They could even get talking to the teachers and give ideas of ways to make the classrooms greener! The opportunities are endless. Get them to think creatively to make it happen! Guide dear parents, don’t do!
Spread the word
The best way to keep kids pouring in to help is to tell everybody what impact they are making! Let them share their stories with the school, with the staff and by making these changes that are giving them results, the rest of the kids will start to get excited too. Communicate, communicate, communicate!
Show people the way
Let your kids lead initiatives that will ‘show and tell’ the rest of the school about the important things they need to think about. They could plant a vegetable garden and get all the kids thinking about where food comes from, host a waste free snack day – no packaging allowed. They could even work with staff at the school to prepare healthy food for the day that kids can actually watch and learn, and then they can enjoy it on the spot. What happens after that? Composting and recycling, of course.
Let the light shine in!
Heaps of studies have been done to show that a healthy dose of sunshine not only lifts mood, but it makes kids more productive and happy. So, let your kids educate and lead the way to making sure that light is coming into their classrooms or speak to teachers about taking classes outside sometimes.
Host a clean-up day
Your young fearless eco leader can host a clean-up day. Get the whole school involved and get the kids removing all the rubbish, even if its old papers that are just lying around in school offices, litter on the grounds or even cleaning out dusty areas in classrooms, using green products of course. All these things can make a massive difference. Let them speak to those powers-that-be and hold some sort of competition – who collected the most rubbish, which class was the most enthusiastic or any other things that they can think of. The whole idea here, is to get the kids psyched and into the idea of making their school green!
It’s all about the energy
They can talk at an assembly or again even get newsletters out, regarding the importance of turning out lights. They can get the school thinking power efficiency by changing to different light bulbs when the current ones need to be replaced and even turning off electronics when they’re not in use.
The efficient car-pool
They can suggest car-pooling and can even try and work out a way to match parents together that live in the same areas and get them in touch with each other. Reducing those carbon emissions will make a massive difference.
These are just some of the ways that your kids can change their world, one step at a time! Let them think creatively and they’ll probably come up with loads of other ideas! Welcome to the new confident leader in your life! It’s important not to overload them, but empower them and let them take stuff on in bite-size pieces one step at a time. Before you know it, not only will the school be educated, but the kids will be passing on bucket loads of information to their parents too.
Have you got any other ideas to help green schools? We’d love to hear them!