Become a Teacher• 3 Min read

11th January 2023

Sustainability in the Classroom: Eco-Friendly Activities | Engage Education

With sustainability being such an important part of our future, it’s important to teach eco-friendly habits to students. Children attend school to learn about the world around them, so what better place to educate about sustainability than in the classroom? Applying eco-friendly practices in their school life will allow them to carry them into their future, helping the planet in the long term. 

Why is it important for schools to be eco-friendly?

The future requires us to be eco-friendly in order to care for the planet and ensure its longevity. Future generations play an important role in helping the planet, which is why education is so vital. Schools are the perfect environment to start carrying out eco-friendly education and activities, helping children to develop positive habits from a young age. 

Carrying out eco-friendly activities in schools not only educates, but also helps the environment. This all contributes to making the planet more sustainable and a nicer place to live for all. 

How can sustainability be brought into the classroom?

Sustainability can be brought into the classroom with a range of different fun and engaging activities. Children can get involved in boosting your school’s eco-friendliness whilst learning valuable lessons in the process. Here are some key ways to teach sustainability and cultivate an eco-friendly classroom.

Be energy efficient 

With technology being a huge part of our lives and often school lessons, it’s important to make children aware of how to use energy responsibly. This can be done as part of a fun activity. Why not ask children to observe all the appliances in the classroom that consume electricity? You can then investigate the electrical usage and ask for ways to reduce your energy consumption, such as:

  • Switching off lights when the classroom’s empty
  • Turning off tablets and laptops when not in use
  • Setting up sleep settings on electronics

All of these ideas will get children thinking how to be energy efficient at both school and home. 

Use eco-friendly classroom supplies

Classroom supplies can be both quite costly and wasteful. You can resolve both of these issues by offering eco-friendly supplies that the children can also help to make. 

  • Fabric displays – instead of using paper as a background for your displays, you can use fabric which can be reused and also looks visually appealing. This is a great way to minimise wasting paper.
  • Refillable whiteboard markers – most teachers will understand the struggle of constantly running out of and throwing away whiteboard pens. This can lead to a great deal of waste plastic each year. Instead, by using refillable whiteboard markers, schools can hugely reduce their waste.
  • Recycled pencil pots – a fun activity to start the new year could be making personal pencil pots with the students. Tin cans and milk cartons make great containers and they can use recycled craft supplies to decorate and add a personal touch.
  • Crafting – recycling anything from bottle tops to egg boxes can make great craft supplies, allowing the students to use their creative imagination to craft something unique.

Encourage your students to recycle and reuse 

Believe it or not, recycling can be made fun, especially in the classroom! Here are some great ways to encourage recycling and reuse of products:

  • Set a home project for students to investigate how much they throw away
  • Sort out the rubbish bin together once a week – separating and organising recycling
  • Set up recycling stations around the school and classrooms
  • Allow students to come up with ideas on how to reuse items, for example, with crafts

Start a class gardening project

Starting a gardening club or setting up a class project is an effective way of teaching children about the importance of nature. Perhaps try growing some herbs on the classroom windowsills and teach children the process of growing their own food. Being able to see the processes nature carries out will show students the significance of the environment and the role it plays in daily life. It’ll also help teach children to be less wasteful when it comes to food.

Make your school meals more eco-friendly

Small changes can make school meals much more sustainable. For example, Meat-free Mondays can be a great way to cut down on meat consumption and offer more sustainable alternatives, not to mention that it’s healthier too! 

Providing drinks in reusable bottles that can be refilled in the canteen is another great way to reduce excess waste. Any food waste from school lunches can then be used for compost if you have a school garden. 

Encourage students to walk to school 

If students are within reasonable walking distance, you can encourage them to take a stroll to school with various incentives and activities:

  • Offer rewards – allows students to gain ‘points’ for walking to school. They can exchange these points for badges or prizes. 
  • Set up a chart – set up an interactive chart that students can add to,  tracking how many times they’ve walked to school. 
  • Make it social – match up students who live close by one another to walk to school together, which makes it a social activity whilst keeping safe.
  • Educate them on emissions – explain how walking to school helps the environment and reduces CO2.
  • Keep parents informed – let parents know that you’re encouraging children to walk to school so that they can do the same. It’ll also allow them to keep their children streetwise and informed. 

Start a school Eco-Committee

For those students who are particularly passionate about looking after the environment, you can set up an Eco-Committee. These students can be in charge of forming more sustainable initiatives for the school to adopt. It’ll give students more responsibility and encourage their passion for the environment. The Eco-Committee can be in charge of looking after fruit and vegetables the school is growing, feeding chickens (if your school has them), helping with recycling and the compost. 

The classroom is the ideal place to educate future generations about the importance of caring for the environment. Adopting some of the eco-friendly initiatives discussed above will help the environment whilst enforcing positive habits with your students. Looking to make a real difference? At Engage Education we help teachers to find their perfect role and provide support every step of the way. Contact us today for more information.

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