Green parenting can be a daunting task in the age of television, iPads, and cartoons. Keeping in mind that our children spend most of their day in school only creates major motivation to get involved in greening children’s schools.
At home and at school, children are exposed to a vast amount of information, rapid firing through workbooks, homework, lessons, computers, websites, and more. These are all tools that we can use though to impart critical information about creating green habits. The younger children start, the more likely they are to stick with green behaviors.
Now more than ever there are books, DVDs, apps, and more for children to learn about simple ways they can help the earth. Whether it be a large activity like setting up a school garden or a smaller but just as powerful daily task of recycling paper, a child’s school can make a huge impact on setting green behaviors in place.
Here are the simple steps to helping to green your child’s school.
1. Contact the school administrator to gain approval for moving forward, and to find out the vision the school has for going green. The school administration may indeed want to go green, but doesn’t have the resources or time. If this is the case you will know where to start.
2. Form a Green Committee. The Green Committee should consist of two key school administrators who really believe in the vision. Also on the committee should be: three to five students who have lots of energy and heart; two teachers who want to incorporate green activities into their curriculum; a maintenance administrator to help with the logistics of activities such as recycling; and three parents who are excited for this project. The Green Committee can meet monthly at a time that works for all involved, and their first task is to establish a mission or vision. Does your Green Committee aspire to create a more educated group of students and teachers, or to create an entirely new sustainable campus? Make sure you are all on the same page.
3. Follow through on the goals and steps established in the Green Committee. Take one goal at a time. For example, if the first goal is to set up recycling of paper, bottles and cans at the school delegate tasks so that this can get accomplished before setting out on a new goal. In this case, maintenance staff can research costs for bins and transport of recyclables. The teachers can begin to design a curriculum for their students on recycling so that when the bins are in each classroom the students understand the purpose. Administrators can set up a launching day for the recycling program during which parents help with activities, education, and incentives for children to become excited to participate. Make sure every member of the team has a responsibility in the work toward each goal.
4. Be sure that there are books about the environment in the school library or classrooms so that students can read and learn at any time they choose. A few great ideas for younger children are the books I Can Save the Earth and Adventures of the Plastic Bottle both by Alison Inches, Planet Earth Gets Well by Madeline Kaplan, and 365 Ways to Live Green by Sheri Amsel. And, instead of having DVDs played in the classroom to only keep kids entertained, educate them with these excellent choices: Side the Science Kids, Going, Going Green, and Sesame Street Being Green.
5. Celebrate! Each time the school reaches a goal, be sure to celebrate with the students, teachers and parents. The Green Committee should take some time to celebrate as well for a job well done!
If your child’s school is truly committed to going green, the school administrator can sign up to be a Green School with the Green Schools Alliance on their website. This will help to hold the vision of the school accountable and keep everyone on task. It is also a great site to see what other schools are doing to get and adapt various creative ideas to your child’s school.
With your Green Committee and your child excited, there is no stopping the endless activities and wonderful green goals!