If we want Canadians to develop good environmental habits that they will carry throughout their lifetime, we have to start teaching them young.
That’s the approach that Jane Francis Powell, project manager with the Golden Community Resources Society, is taking.
“Children begin to form their values and habits at a very early age in life,” she said. “If you want these good habits to stick, you have to start young.”
The goal of her project, Building Rural Capacity in the Early Years Through Environmental Education, is to promote community development and environmental stewardship in the early years.
“I am conducting this project through three main components,” said Powell. She is getting her message out through free workshops with educators and childcare providers, activities with children, and information sharing through a blog.
Aimed primarily at children ages three to eight, Powell wants environmental education to be cross-curricular. In other words, this information should be available across all areas of the school system.
“My dream is to get environmental education in the school systems. But teaching it in one block isn’t enough, it needs to be cross-curricular. They need to learn how to do these things in every part of their lives,” she said.
Powell has been in the schools using interactive methods to teach children about the environment. In Nicholson she taught the kids about worm farms, and how they recycle leaves and food scraps, and turn them into rich soil nutrients. After that they did some recycling of their own, and made paper mache worms out of recycled newspaper.
The first of a series of six free workshops for educators and childcare providers was on Nov. 21. (Powell would like to thank GADSAR for the free use of their hall for the workshop).
“The workshops, although they are all connected, are individual. People can participate in as many or as few as they like,” said Powell.
The next workshop will be in January at the College of the Rockies (date has not yet been determined), and will be based around the idea of the outdoor classroom.
For more information about the programs, and to see updates about upcoming workshops, go to Powell’s blog at www.inaboutandfor.blogspot.com.