Quantcast

How to Teach Kids About Sustainability

So you want to be a good role model and teach kids—whether your own, nieces and nephews or a classroom—how to respect nature, be mindful of the waste they create and more. In short, to teach them about sustainability. And have fun doing it. Where do you start?

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

There are some quick pointers on how to do so, such as these 5 tips for teaching kids about sustainable living, geared to a younger audience:

1. Lead by example
2. Make it fun
3. Get kids involved
4. Read to them
5. Volunteer with your kids

Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching offers suggestions on teaching about sustainability issues for a more mature audience:

1. Beware of student overload
2. Avoid doom and gloom
3. Focus on quality of life issues
4. Peer engagement and support
5. Student analysis of data
6. Deconstruct eco-rhetoric 
7. Precautionary principle
8. Embrace interdisciplinarity 

Sound like some solid pointers, but not sure how to start implementing them in practice? Turns out there are quite a few resources with detailed ideas and lesson plans.

The Center for Ecoliteracy, a nonprofit advancing ecological education in K-12 schools, believes the best hope for learning to live sustainably comes from schooling that is “smart by nature.” This includes weaving the following basics throughout curriculum at every grade level:

Experiencing the natural world; learning how nature sustains life; nurturing healthy communities; recognizing the implications of the ways we feed and provision ourselves; and knowing well the places where we live, work and learn.

The center offers a wealth of information and material, covering environmental issues, instructional tools, strategies and philosophical grounding.

Facing the Future is a nonprofit that creates tools for educators to equip and motivate students to develop critical thinking skills, build global awareness and engage in positive solutions for a sustainable future. The curricula offered by Facing the Future covers environmental, social and economic issues as well as sustainable solutions.

The National Wildlife Federation explains how Eco-Schools USA can benefit your school. The free program is designed to help schools improve academic performance, save money and conserve resources—to green your school inside, outside and throughout the curriculum. There are seven steps to complete before receiving an Eco-Schools award, one of which is linking to educational curriculum.

Check out what's available at Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation (CELF)’s resource center. The mission of CELF is to establish sustainability as an integral part of every child’s K-12 learning experience. Yes! Magazine’s Teaching Sustainability section includes resources on how to build a robust economy, healthy planet and just world for all.

Hungry for more ideas? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers a Students and Sustainability online clearinghouse of information, designed for teachers who want to introduce concepts of sustainability in their classrooms and for students who need guidance in their sustainability research projects.

If you are looking for something hands-on this spring, consider the following pointer from Green Education Foundation, a nonprofit committed to creating a sustainable future through education: the garden as a teaching tool.

The foundation sees a garden as a great place to explore sustainability education, offering kids lessons in ecology, biodiversity and conservation. Guidelines offer plans for sustainable gardens at three budget levels and tutorials on constructing wheelchair-accessible raised beds and bird feeders, as well as details on topics ranging from recycled materials to water conservation.

What techniques have you used to teach children about sustainability?

——–

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

10 Ways to Teach Your Child to Eat Well

10 Environmental Health Questions to Ask When Choosing Childcare

7 Tips to Prep for Gardening Season

——–

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Wesley Martinez Da Costa / EyeEm / Getty Images

By David R. Montgomery

Would it sound too good to be true if I was to say that there was a simple, profitable and underused agricultural method to help feed everybody, cool the planet, and revitalize rural America? I used to think so, until I started visiting farmers who are restoring fertility to their land, stashing a lot of carbon in their soil, and returning healthy profitability to family farms. Now I've come to see how restoring soil health would prove as good for farmers and rural economies as it would for the environment.

Read More Show Less
skaman306 / Moment / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Radish (Raphanus sativus) is a cruciferous vegetable that originated in Asia and Europe (1Trusted Source).

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Tinnakorn Jorruang / iStock / Getty Images

By Dan Nosowitz

The budding research on cannabidiol, or CBD, attracts a great deal of interest in the agricultural field.

Read More Show Less
Oksana Khodakovskaia / iStock / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a tree native to China that's prized for its sweet, citrus-like fruit.

Read More Show Less

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released new numbers that show vaping-related lung illnesses are continuing to grow across the country, as the number of fatalities has climbed to 33 and hospitalizations have reached 1,479 cases, according to a CDC update.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
During the summer, the Arctic tundra is usually a thriving habitat for mammals such as the Arctic fox. Education Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Reports of extreme snowfall in the Arctic might seem encouraging, given that the region is rapidly warming due to human-driven climate change. According to a new study, however, the snow could actually pose a major threat to the normal reproductive cycles of Arctic wildlife.

Read More Show Less
Vegan rice and garbanzo beans meals. Ella Olsson / Pexels

By Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

One common concern about vegan diets is whether they provide your body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs.

Many claim that a whole-food, plant-based diet easily meets all the daily nutrient requirements.

Read More Show Less
A fracking well looms over a residential area of Liberty, Colorado on Aug. 19. WildEarth Guardians / Flickr

A new multiyear study found that people living or working within 2,000 feet, or nearly half a mile, of a hydraulic fracturing (fracking) drill site may be at a heightened risk of exposure to benzene and other toxic chemicals, according to research released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)

Read More Show Less