Growing Greener Classrooms: The Importance of Teaching Sustainability to Today’s Students

March 30, 2017
 
2 small children carrying  a recycling container

Phillips Communications

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, on average, kids in Illinois spend about five hours a day in school. At school, students develop the academic skills they need in life and learn to explore new topics and things that interest them. Today’s students are our next generation and it is vital that they understand the importance of sustainability. One way to introduce kids to sustainability is through the classroom environment. As teachers, you can be the first person to introduce your students to the importance of sustainability. The future of our planet lies within this generation of students. Below are a few resources and tips that can be used in your classroom to help students learn more about sustainability.

According to the website, www.treehugger.com, there are things that teachers can do to make their classroom a little greener. It is important to teach your students about global issues such as climate change and endangered species while also examining local issues like recycling, storm-water runoff, and air pollution. If your school does not have a recycling program, you can show them how to recycle in your own classroom or you can recommend that the janitors use eco-friendly cleaners.

To help third-through-sixth grade students learn about sustainable gardening, you can show them the Illinois Edition of PBS LearningMedia video Sustainable Gardening I Think Garden. This video talks about planting, composting, water conservation and more. Sustainable Seafood I Healthy Oceans teaches sixth-through-tenth grade students about asking the right questions to help us make more sustainable choices and Buses and Biofuels: Sustainable Transportation I Exploring Energy examines the carbon footprint of the U.S.  There are also fun and interactive games like City Farm where players learn about sustainable practices by growing crops and protecting them from problems.

We can do many things as teachers and parents. Some things are as simple as opening their eyes to the plants and nature around them. No matter where you live and regardless of budget, there is a lot we can do to encourage this generation to be a little greener.