Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Going Green in the Winter: Six Simple Ideas for Montessori Classroom Environmental Awareness

NAMC montessori activity ideas environmental awareness going green simple lunch
Depending on your location, winter might not be the greenest time of year outside, but it’s still a great time to be “green” inside your Montessori classroom. Appreciating the earth and taking responsibility for your environmental impact are both concepts fitting with the Montessori approach.

Brainstorm ideas with your students. Ask what they do at home that might also work in the classroom. Be sure to explain how the things you do make a difference in an age-appropriate manner. Older students might want to do some math problems that show how many paper towels do not go in the trash when you switch to cloth rags, etc. The local government may have educational programs that show students the positive effects of recycling or how water pollution affects our lives. Challenge other classrooms at your school to “out green” your classroom. Have fun and involve your students!

Here are a few ideas that are simple and easy to implement:

Going Green in the Winter: Six Simple Ideas for Montessori Classroom Environmental Awareness

NAMC montessori activity ideas environmental awareness going green simple compost
  • Start a campaign to ban plastic sandwich bags from lunches. Challenge your students to work with their parents to find reusable options for packaging their lunches. As a class, you could sew simple, washable fabric sandwich and snack bags by hand or with a borrowed sewing machine.
  • Are you using cloth napkins, cloth hand towels (if appropriate by Department of Health standards) and cloth rags? Not only are cloth napkins and hand towels more pleasurable feeling on your hands and face, they make your classroom more beautiful and homey. Like the sandwich bags above, your students can cut and sew napkins, towels, and rags from donated fabric. You can repurpose old bed sheets and bath towels for napkins and hand towels. Clothes do well for rags. If cloth is not an option, research recycled options for the paper versions. You may be able to compost your paper towels.
  • Make “green” cleaners using ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda and essential oils. Students will enjoy the science behind the cleaning magic, parents will enjoy knowing their children are around safer cleaners, and you will enjoy not having bleach spots on your work wardrobe. An internet search will bring up a wealth of recipes.
  • Do you compost in your classroom? Some local governments will give schools compost bins. If a similar program is not available in your area, ask parents for compost bins they are not using or build one with your Montessori students. The composted mulch can be used to benefit campus landscaping or a campus garden.
  • With your students, research what plants you will want in your campus garden this coming spring. You might discover that there are seedlings you can start indoors now for spring planting.
  • Many state governments are offering a green school certification program. Research your state’s option and discuss with your students their level of interest in this challenge. A lot of the activities you are already doing will likely qualify.
Resources for Going Green in Your Classroom
  • The New 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth, by Sophie Javna
  • 50 Ways to Save the Earth, by Anne Jankeliowitch
  • Easy to Be Green: Simple Activities You Can Do to Save the Earth, by Ellie O'Ryan
  • 101 Ways to Save the Earth, by David Bellamy
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, December 8, 2009.

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