Increasing Environmental Awareness at Your Primary School
The future of the planet lies in our children's hands. It's vital that they are made aware of the issues at stake from a young age in order to secure a safe, happy and healthy future for themselves. World Environment Day offers up a great opportunity to highlight some of these issues, with the hope of inspiring children to become more environmentally conscious in the long term. I have compiled this top 5 of activities and songs for World Environment Day to help you do so in a manner that is fun, easy and memorable for primary school children.
Activities and Songs for World Environment Day
- Incorporate it into story time. Telling stories is a great way to get children thinking about important topics, and there's no shortage of children's fiction addressing environmental issues. In particular I recommend George Saves The World By Lunchtime by Dr Jo Readman, which contains a powerful message about the big difference that small lifestyle changes can make. Read your chosen book to the class at the beginning of the week to get the issues fresh in children's minds.
- Try the 'green challenge'. The afternoon before, ask each child to set themselves a small challenge. E.g. get the bus rather than a lift to school, make sure all the lights are turned off when leaving the house. Explain how even such little things can make a big difference and encourage them to continue living life with this mindset long after World Environment Day.
- Get creative with recycling. Ask children to save up bottles, cans, paper, waste materials etc. in the days leading up to World Environment Day and get them upcycling. For example, you could make rain sticks out of Pringle tins, mobiles from egg boxes, bird feeders from milk jugs - use your imagination and encourage your class to do the same. Paint everything in bright colours and decorate with whatever you can find, showing that everyday waste can be turned into items that are both useful and beautiful.
- Put on a play. There are some wonderful plays for children that incorporate important moral messages about the environment. It's up to you whether you prepare the play in the weeks preceding World Environment Day, work through the script and songs in class or simply use individual songs to support particular topics. I recommend Eddie The Penguin Saves The World! and The Litter Mucher, both written by Niki Davies.
- Have a singalong. Talking of songs, if you don't want an entire play script there are also various books of songs for primary school that contain just one or two songs for World Environment Day. For example, Here Comes Summer! from Out of the Ark offers a selection of songs for the summer term, including Recycle Me and Walk to School. Other titles cover everything from warm weather to Father's Day, making this songbook useful throughout the rest of term, too.
By Bronwyn Zelst Cook