Most schools recycle these days but is your school really doing everything it can? Today’s children will be looking after our planet tomorrow so it’s important they develop a vested interest in taking care of it. Getting kids involved in recycling teaches them responsibility, sustainability and it’s great for teaching them science.
Getting Buy In
When you roll a new software or system out in an office you need user buy in and you need the same principle for the school too. If you want to start reducing your carbon foot print you need to get everyone involved. Make sure the kids understand not only what you’re doing but why too and don’t forget the parents, they need to be kept in the loop as well.
Putting People In Charge
Once they know why they need to know who. Obviously the whole school is going to be involved but there need to be key people in charge and this needs to be a mix of both staff and students. Appoint recycling monitors for each class group/room who are in charge of making sure everything is turned off at the end of the day and nothing that can be recycled is thrown in the bin.
Take Them Out The Classroom
A great way to get engagement from your students is to take them out the classroom so next time you’re arranging a class trip look for local recycling companies or large organisations that have an established recycling scheme. Once they see it’s not just for kids they’re going to be much more excited about the whole process, especially if your school has younger students.
Incorporate The Whole School
You staff are going to extend beyond the teachers. If you’ve got cleaning staff run science classes that can teach and produce cleaning chemicals that are more eco-friendly. Vinegar and lemon juice are great for removing stains and letting students experiment with consistencies is something they can take home for themselves too. Take the children into the staff room which is often the forbidden room in most schools for students and let them point out all the areas you could be reducing your carbon footprint.
Get The Community Involved
Do some research online and look for any local awards or programmes that reward green activities. If you win anything it provides extra motivation for the students not to mention providing great PR for your school. There are several government grants for education establishments that are trying to reduce your carbon footprint so make sure you know what’s going on in your local environment. If you’re struggling to find anything create one yourself. Invite local businesses to demonstrate what they’re doing to reduce their carbon footprint, more often than not the kudos of winning will be enough so you won’t need an investment for a prize.
Make sure you’re also recognizing the rewarding internal participation too. If you have older students at your school they’re going to be looking for things they can put on university applications or their CV so if there’s a recognisable scheme going on they’ll be more eager to participate if there’s something in it for them. The same goes for your staff, introducing a recycling scheme looks great on a CV whether it’s for internal or external promotion so make sure everyone knows there’s an added incentive.
Incorporate It Into Lessons
Being eco-friendly can be incorporated into almost any lesson and it will often compliment the curriculum. The science and maths lessons are easy but run a home economics class on cooking a meal using as little energy as possible, get your students to bring an old item of clothing in that they can revamp in their textiles class. Look at some of the worst environmental disasters to bring into a geography lesson or history lesson. This can involve visual representation and really bring home the message of how important it is to take care of our planet.
Jessica is studying early years development and is a writer for energy comparisons site businessenergy.com where businesses of all sizes can make sure they’re on the best possible energy tariff