Saturday, January 11, 2014

Welcome to our Lower Primary Green Page

If we wish our children to grow into students and adults who are able to become advocates for environmental conservation or activism, then at Lower Primary, our job is to facilitate opportunities which bring our children in touch with nature, to feel intrigued and excited about nature in order to wish to protect our earth.

This blogpage has been lovingly created by the Lower Primary Green Dragon group as both an inspiration and a resource for YOU our teachers in every grade. We intend that these Nature Buddies pages may provide you with a point of inspiration, and suggest some ways for you to pause a little each day to feed your own sense of wonder as well as giving suggestions and ideas and support for you to bring that into your teaching through your units and day to day planning.

With that in mind we have created this resource for you to:

1) Tap into your existing practice and see how you might weave nature into what are doing.

2) Have ideas for how to bring nature into your classroom in small and doable ways.

3) Develop ways to have your students pay attention to the natural world around them.

4) Access information about our local environment in Hong Kong.

5) Have ideas for trips and nature walks as well tips on how to carry these out.

As Lower Primary teachers, this is what we know:

A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout a life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile pre occupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength. Rachel Carson, 1956

Rachel Carson knew back then, that nature has a positive effect on our lives and those of our children, and current author Richard Louv who wrote "Nature Deficit Disorder"( which is in our parent library)  reminded us that green environmental attitudes are not built into our hard drives……we need to learn how to load those in! Having intimate and exciting encounters with nature needs to come first to help build a sense of connection and a desire to protect our world.

Based upon those tenets and in conjunction with the school wide Green Dragon group and our admin team we have articulated a sense of what it means to have “Green Education” imbedded into our Lower Primary daily practice: 

We believe that learning about sustainability for our Lower Primary students, ages 4-7, occurs best when it is woven into the fabric of our curriculum. Our goal is to provide activities for children to observe, explore, experience, and fall in love with their natural environment. While this can and does happen in some classrooms, through a number of experiential and observable projects, we also believe that it is essential to offer our young students opportunities to engage directly with small pockets of nature outside the classroom. The theory of caring for environment requires the development of empathy and this can only take place when first hand experiences have taken place. When children are able to have intimate encounters with their environment, their passion for its care resonates with greater understanding. This passion provides the motivation for behaviors that support sustainability. Our goal is to “grow green” from the heart, so that children can then apply the concept of actively caring for our planet based upon an experience of what that planet actually means to them. 

In the words of Stephen Jay Gould:  “We will not protect what we do not love.”

In order to teach young children about the need for sustainable development, it is essential to create opportunities for connectivity and a chance to get to LOVE the natural world.

These pages aim to help our Lower Primary children learn to develop connection with the magic of our natural environment here in Hong Kong, to celebrate our “Place” and be an antidote to the despair of problem centered environmental education. Inline with the notion “Think Globally, Act Locally”. 

Enjoy discovering nature with your class !!!