From the Principal’s desk ….. To Teachers
Earth is full of beauty, peace and life and quality and survival of all life, including that of human beings, depends intimately on the quality of the environment we live in. Harmony with nature forms the root of our social and cultural values and attitudes. The rapid speed, at which species are becoming extinct, due to human activities, emphasizes the need for continuous focus on Environment to ensure that the ‘future global children’ inherit a healthy Earth. In order to develop awareness, sensitivity and a positive proactive attitude about environment, many curricular and co curricular activities are being taken up by schools to connect the students to their environment, in school and outside. The school makes it a point to issue circulars for students, parents and school teachers on what they can do in their daily lives. The school may like to show this to their parents as part of their ongoing, environmental awareness generation programmes and formulate specific projects/activities. The range of activities could vary according to the age of the participants.
PRIMARY CLASSES Pre-k to G-5 : For primary classes, the activities could be a mix of class room and some outdoor locations within the school. In the class room, lunch boxes could be inspected by teachers followed by general easy small tips on nutrition. Adequate disposal of waste could be introduced at this time. Students could be sensitized to safer/re- usable options for wrapping, use of waste basket etc. They could be taught to understand the importance of trees as oxygen givers, without which we cannot be alive and be encouraged to give plants as gifts and return gifts on birthdays. Teachers have to ensure that children are introduced to sustainable Indian practices of including and integrating insect/ bird and animal life into day to day life of individuals and such attitudes and practices are re-enforce. Cultural skills must be included in conversations and practices as well as experience sharing sessions at home and school. This would inculcate skills like confidence building, articulating thoughts and skills and learning to observe small but significant details of surroundings. In the class room and home simple tips on Energy conservation could be introduced such as, switching off the lights and fans etc. on leaving the room. Begin with small things of everyday life such as hand washing and other hygiene issues could be taken up. The children could be asked to keep all faucets in school/ home bathrooms etc. tightly closed and report the leakages. They should be encouraged to turn off water while brushing etc. and thereby avoiding wastage. Some outdoor activities, such as learning to observe the surroundings could be taken up. Trees, creepers, types of plants around the school and home which can be first counted, then catalogued, then connected to insect/ bird life etc. The children can be sensitized about reasonable sound levels for hearing music or listening to TV, to safeguard their own hearing and also to think about others. This can be taken up for all ages.
UPPER PRIMARY CLASSES G-6 to G-8 : In Upper primary classes, range of activities could be extend to product use. Create awareness about battery use and disposal, energy labeling and its benefits. Compare the energy efficiency of appliances used in schools and families on a fair and equitable basis. Teachers could also use energy saving tips by referring to the website, http: // www.powermin.nic.in/consumers/safety instructions.htm#9.
Extend the range of activities to use around the school, in garden etc.
· Going to gardens & parks to familiarizing them with plants, flowers and environment.
· Asking children to collect roots of plants, flowers, etc and asking them to germinate seed or grow plants in the house.
· Making them observe the growth of the plants and also finding out what all birds and insects come to their gardens and surroundings.
· Going to zoo, to watch animals, and noting down the activities and specific names of the
· Doing gardening and farming in school and home on a small scale-the vegetables can be of local or alien species. Terrace gardening is also possible.
· Making them write stories and poems on environment and enact them.
· Bringing out articles for newspapers and documentaries on environment issues.
· Helping them learn about rain, and other seasons that are closely linked with their social and physical environment.
Students could also be familiarized with rain water harvesting in and around school and home, and the water resources of the city/ town and individual/ household responsibility to protect from pollution. Poster painting competitions could also be undertaken. Skills like fixing fuses, water leakages could also be taught from this level onwards. Raising awareness about cultural/ sustainable practices for water conservation should be introduced at the awareness level. If there is a river in the city/ town, a visit should be organized.
SENIOR CLASSES G-9 to G-10 : For older children, the range of activities goes beyond to the community/ locality/ city. Students could be sensitized to the street lights and other areas where electricity is used/ wasted. The students must be provided with opportunities for learning to complain to proper authorities. Schools must undertake sensitization programmes for family members on water and energy conservation issues etc. Mails can be sent to parents too. Activities extended to locality and city could include raising awareness about water sources and their upkeep. Create awareness of chemical use in the household activities and school activities; the impact of these chemicals on soil and underground water; setting up of water harvesting in locality parks, individual household etc. Clearing of river or lake banks can be done. Discuss with them the complaints and redress mechanisms available for general public. Help them connecting to media, organizing campaigns, walks , writing letters to editors and connecting to ongoing movements. Encourage them to contribute well researched articles on such issues for school speeches. Like the earlier campaigns for plastic free schools, (which also need to be continued), schools and homes could also start an awareness programme for Radiation Free Schools and homes with special reference to the use of cell phones by children. Data and details can be gathered from the internet. Give this raising awareness amongst the younger students. Activities around Gardens/ Parks could include soil conservation through organic methods, use of organic manure, training in composting and vermiculture as a part of cultural activity, recycling and minimizing waste etc. Planting and taking care of the biodiversity around school and localities could also be discussed. Exhibitions, displays, projects can also be designed to involve students and create interest. In such activities each child should be given a choice to select the activity that most interests him or her. In school office or library minimizing and re-use paper use and re-cycling waste etc. should be part of awareness activities. Magazines on environmental issues should be subscribed to. In canteen or any other eatable plate focus should be on packaging and the waste it generates. Students should themselves inspect quality of food, hygienic issues in cooking and packing, cleanliness etc. Similar pro-active, participatory activities can be build around all human activities. Awareness of inclusively about life choices should be part of student activity. ‘Best Out of Waste’ is a creative activity where re-use of so called waste matter can be taught. Social awareness should be generated about inclusion of various economic classes in everyday community life. There could/should be especially included for students and awareness of lifestyle options over dependence on markets, sustainable culturally available alternatives. The sustainability awareness needs to be re-enforced in both boys and girls. For these parents, especially mothers can play a participatory role. The school alumni could be from any region of the country. Each region has its own sustainable practices integrated into everyday practices. These are passed down from parents to children. These could be talked about in the experience sharing sessions, in the class room or club activity.
I am sure the schools and homes would try to integrate these simple and yet effective energy and water saving activities in their every day school and household programmes and activities.