City schools are doing their bit and inculcating environmental values in children during these trying times of climatic menace that is looming large. DC speaks to people from various walks of life on the same.
Y. G. Madhuvanti, an educationist cum artist puts forward a practical solution - something on the lines of cinema is a powerful means of mass communication or American journalist Amy Goodman’s thoughts. “Only when the media shines a spotlight can people know and decide whether to act.”
“We need to create a lot more awareness at school level about the change in climatic conditions. Not that we just show them what is happening in Delhi as pollution is plaguing Chennai also. Show environment- related films because children understand films much better than reading about it or somebody talking about it,” she says.
Dr Saranya Jaikumar, an educational psychologist says, “It is basically more bout introducing children and influencing them to choose greener habits and greener behaviour. Socio-environmental problems can be solved better by practising because practising habits is more influential than just reading from a curriculum.
EVS as a subject has been there for quite some time. Has it brought a change in how people look at climate crisis? No, anything which is not in practice and only in the curriculum does not help because study says 70% of children cannot relate to anything that they do not see or understand or practise. My daughter educates me on this now because her Montessori school has inculcated this habit. They have been told to segregate bio-degradable and non bio-degradable waste and put them in separate bins. The non-bio one is sold to a local vendor and the bio one goes into compost. When they practice this at school level itself, they will tend to practice the same at home also. My 8-year-old daughter will put her foot down and say, “Amma, please don’t throw everything together please”.
Sonali Jain, the founder and CEO of Global Rabbee which has a chain of preschools in Chennai shares how the school has literally absorbed the idea of ‘practice makes a man perfect’ instead of just making the kids sit and listen to lectures, mostly given in a boring way in classrooms. “We take the kids to the nearby gardens, like one of our branches did a trip to the Guindy national park, and we tell them they should not pluck leaves or flowers. As part of the environmental education, the kids will also collect the strewn waste on roadside and put them in separate bins. We have told the parents also to avoid plastic altogether, including plastic toys. Recently, we did a programme in which our kids planted at least 30 saplings in the Melony Road area in T. Nagar as they chanted eco-friendly slogans. I feel this way they internalise the concepts better.”
Shylaja Chetlur of Wanderlust Travels, an organisation that specifically educates public on the lakes in city, conducted two lake safaris last year in collaboration with Environmentalist Foundation of India.
“We took the NSN matriculation higher secondary school kids to the Manimangalam lake and kids of TI Matriculation Higher Secondary School visited several small lakes in Avadi and Ambattur area. The students got to know what lake restoration means, the different techniques of doing it. We also enlighten them on the flora and fauna surviving the lake and the nitty-gritty of cleaning the water and surrounding of trash, deepening the water body, strengthening and fencing the bund, creating a recharge shaft.”
Shylaja feels that the picnic of schools and colleges should arrange more history and geography class tours instead of kids lazing away in excursions. “The subjects should be brought alive for our children.”
Proud mother V. Lakshmi whose son reads in class II of a private school in city shares how the school inculcates healthy habits. “The school has a waste segregation practice in place. They have bins that are demarcated to show what type of waste should go there. Many small apartments may not have such a concept - so it becomes an important learning for the children in school who will then try and emulate such practice at home. Besides, during functions or fests, we, the parents, will come together with the school and the students and instead of using decorative papers, we make the pieces of decoration out of old newspaper and any raw material lying around, we try and upcycle them.”
Vijay .S who is in 9th standard at Chettinad Harishree Vidyalayam explains how they have utilised the global citizenship classes of the school which is held once a week. “We, a group of six, have been working on a model which we will first install in our school to reduce the water consumption level. Our school ends up spending 1,000 litres in the restroom and 1,500 litres in the dining hall every day. Once we successfully install it in our school, we have plans to implement the same in our homes and surrounding areas.”...