Teachers explain benefits of environmental education | Maryland, US | World Future Council

The teachers are integrating environmental education into their English language, arts classes, the social studies classes, math and science. So, the students are planting trees, planting native plants, they are helping to create outdoor classrooms, recycling, waste management. There are in elementary schools energy monitors who are making sure that when the class leaves the classroom the lights are turned off. I think what’s really great about it is the fact that the kids get so involved with things, you know, they’ve never been involved with before. And you just see that spark, you know, inside of them, wanting to know more. You see them engaging and asking questions and touching and feeling and doing and that’s really great to see them experiencing that type of environmental education. They are excited: what are we to going to do next, what are we doing now. To me, that is the doorway in for students who are not interested in reading, but certainly if you find different things, like for a kid, asked me just yesterday, how does the snail get its shell? And that’s an interesting one as well. So to me, how do you find that out, I don’t have all the answers. But this is where we learn as a community and we do research. The students that struggle the most in the classroom, they excel outside. Get them outside and give them a shovel, all of a sudden they’re the hardest working person you’ve ever seen. When there is a real connection to the math and a real connection to the science, they are more engaged and want to do more. They will remember more from three hours on the bay than thirty hours in a book , without a doubt. It’s also the impact at home, because I have parents come up to me and say: “My child just put recycling signs up and they want a start a compost bin and what do I need to do”. So, it’s how it’s expanding from just being in the schools to at home, and the community coming back and saying “we are part of this now, how do we get involved, too.” They become advocates within their own community for the environment. These students hopefully will go to college and university and continue with their interest in the environment and continue looking at ways that they can make a change and that they can make improvements.

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