Recycling Week is 12-18 September and what better way to introduce the kids back to school than a few lessons in environmentalism. From simply putting out more recycling bins, to forming eco-clubs and hosting trips, there are so many ways to give young school children the green bug.
Plenty of bins
Locate bins in easy to see and reach places, inside and around the whole building. This will help to remind kids where to put their rubbish, and with one always nearby, there’s no excuse for them to drop it on the floor or in the incorrect bin. For example, pop a waste paper bin at the front of each classroom, and a couple of plastic bottle bins in the canteen.
If you want to take it further, dot a few food waste bins around the campus. You can then use them to make your own compost to fertilise the school garden or donate to a local farmer.
Clear and constructive signage
Put up colourful, clear and attractive signs around the school and near the bins to encourage children to use the correct containers. For the little ones, decorate the tubs with images of the items that are allowed to be placed in there.
Even better, host a school-wide poster competition and let the kids do the designing. By creating something themselves, children are more inclined to learn and take part.
Design a series of lessons tailored to each age group, explaining why recycling is important and what can be done to save the environment. Interactive activities are a great way to get kids involved – you could organise a scrapheap challenge where they have to put rubbish into the correct containers, encouraging them to think before they throw something away.
Alternatively, ask pupils to bring in their old clothes, tin cans and jars and take part in a craft afternoon. Let them go crazy with paint, buttons, string and feathers as they create something completely new out of something that was destined for landfill. The possibilities are endless, so get creative!
They say the best place to learn is outside of the classroom, so drive the class to the local recycling centre. A simple online search should point you in the right direction of which businesses offer educational tours, and the day will give them a wealth of knowledge and experience that a textbook simply cannot offer.
Become an eco-school
Extra-curricular clubs are an excellent means of introducing children to new and exciting ideas. From group litter picks to a spot of gardening, eco-clubs can be involved in so many exciting activities and events. Visit the www.eco-schools.org.uk website for a head start on coordinating your own after-school environmental group.
Beyond the school gate
Encouraging parents to adopt a green way of living might seem difficult, but asking children to involve their families at home could be a way of getting them on board. Rewarding the achievements of individual pupils by featuring them in newsletters and giving out certificates should convince many guardians to follow suit and carry on the eco-friendly learning after school hours.