Teaching Respect for Nature and the Environment
Teaching young children to respect and appreciate nature and the environment is an essential part of education. Sustainable practices and a curriculum that includes environmentally friendly activities are now part of the basic business model for any state-of-the-art school or preschool in well-developed areas worldwide.
This gives our childcare services a fabulous opportunity to educate the next generation and to ensure they grow up with love and respect for the natural world around them.
At Cherry Bridge Station our centres have a strong focus on environmental responsibility and the children are involved in sustainable practices and environmentally friendly activities every day. Indoor and outdoor spaces are specially provided for children to engage with, and care for, nature and the environment.
CBS operates various centres in NSW and as a state-of-the-art service provider, we implement a number of strategies to familiarise pupils with nature. Service providers wishing to take a leaf out of our book can try some of the following:
- Indoor or outdoor pot plants, herbs or vegetables that the children can learn about and care for
- An easy-care pet – stick insects, goldfish or mice tend to be good choices and teach the children empathy, respect and responsibility
- Install a bird feeder in view of the window so children can feed and take an interest in the visiting bird species
- Set-up play areas using natural materials: wood, pebbles, bark, pinecones, sand and cork all make for interesting natural textures
- Host leaf rubbing and printing activities – children can decorate the play spaces with these too
- Set-up treasure hunts for natural objects like leaves, cones, flowers, twigs, feathers and snail shells, then use them for paint or collage etc.
- Go on a nature trail (some of the CBS children have been using iPads with a special microscope function to explore their play area)
Of course, nature trails are great for identifying insects too, and also offer a perfect opportunity for teaching children not to handle things without permission, and treating living creatures with care and respect.
Recycling is another fun activity that everyone can participate in. Reusing plastic bottles and lids, cardboard packaging, tissue rolls and old CDs to make arts, crafts and games will teach the children to consider whether something might have other uses before it is thrown away, and when items are truly finished with, children can separate them into the correct refuse receptacle. Some children even enjoy ‘homework’ challenges to collect certain discarded items to use for an upcoming activity.
Popular games and activities based on nature, such as ‘guess the animal sounds’ and outdoor ‘I Spy’ are always firm favourites too!