What an exciting weekend we had at the Ecocentre! Thirty children aged 2 to 13 years lived with their parents for three days in the Villa and participated in many permie activities. Activities ranged from feeding the chickens, pigs and geese, making beetroot and pumpkin bread, stomping on mud to make adobe bricks and cob, and creating worm farms and solar ovens.
Yet statistics around the globe show that there is a decline in young people interested in science and the environment. So as sustainability educators, we have a challenging job in front of us.
There are ample descriptions of why students are closing off to the natural environment. The first that comes to mind is social media. American children average from 6 to 9 hours of entertainment media use, excluding time spent at school or homework. Unfortunately, this time takes children away from nature.
Secondly, the pedagogy of transmission of knowledge from the teacher or the textbook to the students can make nature look boring and irrelevant to our lives.
Permaculture is a practice
Courses, such as the mini PBC for kids, connect them to science and the environment dynamically and colourfully. This course demonstrates the relevance of science and the environment to their lives. The activities are practical and fun and able to be transferred to the classroom without a problem. So what is the problem?
Hain Ginott once said, “I’ve concluded that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humour, hurt or heal in all situations. It is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized.”
The secret is the educator
Enthusiastic, knowledgeable and skilled educators can motivate students’ interest in the environment. Just a quarter of a century ago, Schumacher described education as the ‘greatest resource’ for achieving a just society. And as educators, we need to get onto it! In a global nation, we can encourage consciousness-raising in the community as a process of helping people, especially children, recognize solutions for a sustainable future.
We support educators with materials that can fast track the classroom environment to a greener future. You can purchase the book here!