Page 6 - FIS World November 2021
P. 6

Small People, Big Impact
Environmental awareness takes root in the Primary School
 Grade 1
Earth Rescue members share their knowledge on recycling with others in the Primary School
Afew years ago, as we sat together in the Primary School during a Professional Development day, we realized how passionate we both were about issues relating to climate change. With environmental clubs in both the Elementary and Upper Schools, we wondered why there couldn’t also be one in the Primary School. We decided that day to pursue our passion for a better world for all young people by trying to sow a seed for change and create an opportunity for our youngest students to make a difference for their futures.
We feel that taking care of our planet is everyone’s responsibility and want to encourage the students to think differently and stimulate the creation of new habits with more sustainable ways of living. The Primary School’s Earth Rescue club officially began in February 2019, and this year, more than 25 Grade 1 students have chosen to give up their recess time to meet as a group once a week.
The aim is that the students who choose to give up their recess time will become ambassadors for change, not only within the Primary School, but hopefully for the wider FIS community and their own families and friends. As one Earth Rescue member, William, says:“If we didn’t have Earth Rescue, at some point we wouldn’t have recess anyway.”It’s a dramatic observation, but one that illustrates that the students are truly thinking about the future. Bea, another
student in the club, said she thinks the group’s work is important “ the earth can live longer and we can live on it longer.”
After numerous conversations about what we wanted to achieve with these young students, we decided it was important that the club be as student-led as possible. We started with a focus on what excites them and areas where they can feel proud of whatever steps they make to create awareness and influence change. We have done this by trying to expand on topics they talk about and might already be aware of or interested in. For example, when asked about climate change the children talked about things such as deforestation, their concern for wildlife and endangered animals, pollution on land and in the oceans, as well as the need to recycle.
So far our Earth Rescue members have discussed the need to reduce, reuse, repair and recycle. They have delivered new labels for the rubbish bins in all classrooms in the Primary School and explained their use. In conjunction with a Halloween costume swap, they have also been learning about“fast fashion”and its impact on the planet. Future topics will include learning about plastic with an aim to reduce – or in an ideal world, eliminate – plastic waste in the Primary school; deforestation; water, electricity and other resources.
We are very conscious of not wanting to develop “climate change anxiety” in our students, so while we are clearly covering serious issues that the world is facing, we are doing so through fun activities and by making them feel proud of being part of a special group that shares similar interests and where they can hopefully see their actions make a difference in their immediate surroundings.
Overhearing a child who is not a member of Earth Rescue say to one who is, “Look, there’s one of your labels about recycling” is an indicator that the students’ efforts are working and makes all the time we invest worthwhile.
We hope the conversations surrounding climate change can continue at home and that the seeds we are planting will grow into a life-long passion for making a difference to our planet.
Nina Hatzmann and Lisa Naughton FIS Primary School Teaching Assistants
4 FIS World November 2021

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