When I was in college I wrote a plan for a non-profit to work with schools to integrate environmental education in all subjects. The plan was not to take away from reading, writing, and math time but add environmental responsibility to it.
With No Child Left Behind (NCLB) taking away from everything else you can learn about in school (including gym) there needs to be a way to have environmental responsibility added to the curriculum without taking away from the need to meet the goals set out by NCLB. This proposal, which was written over 10 years ago before the wide recognition of this problem or NCLB, was for total integration. There are so many ways the kids can learn about the environment in their classes.
Here are some examples:
- Math- calculations of emissions per hour, how is it reduced if people car pool.
- Reading- stories about plants and animals for young children and more advanced reading for older kids about the effects certain things have on the environment.
- Science- obviously experiments
- Social Studies/History- public policy discussions about legislation, write letters to politicians, review history of pollution, creative assignments asking kids how they think we should solve the problem.
- Gym- Nature hikes, other outdoor activities
Obviously there are millions of other ways that teachers can integrate environmental education into their lesson plans without taking away the overall goal of preparing our children for tests and learning the fundamentals.
As parents of this generation are learning to adjust our lives to be more environmentally friendly our children have an opportunity to live their entire lives in a responsible way with out having to make changes. We need to lead the next generation to the right way to live while they are young so that they do not need to “change” or “adjust” like we are.
I recently read an excellent post on another blog about the recently proposed No Child Left Inside act which hopes to help children reconnect with nature and the environment and work to provide the proper funding to make this a reality. Check this post out to get the particulars on how the No Child Left Inside Act might work to meet the needs I discussed in this post.