This week, we read about how the children at PCS Tampines Centre learnt to care for Earth, that is God’s creation, as a family. We also learnt that the children in PCS Pasir Ris 51 breathed new life into materials that would otherwise be discarded. Today, our spotlight turns to PCS Yishun Centre, where the teachers planned activities to demonstrate to the children there is an urgent need to care for our world.
The Earth: What’s the Solution?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates “every year, environmental risks…take the lives of 1.7 million children under 5 years”. This accounts for 26% of all child deaths globally. In other words, 1 in 4 child deaths worldwide could be prevented just by cleaning up our environment.
How does one communicate these alarming statistics to children? Surely the numbers will not mean much to the children. Instead of merely explaining to them the statistics, the team of teachers at PCS Yishun carried out a series of age-appropriate activities by helping them see that each individual can be part of the solution to stop pollution.
The Earth: God’s Gift to Us
The Playgroup children read a story about the petrifying effects of global warming. They also thought about how the Earth is beautiful creation with a lot of beauty. It is such a lovely gift! If we made simple changes to make sure it stays protected, it would demonstrate our responsibility towards it. The children responded by singing a song about caring for the Earth.
The Pre-Nursery children also read a book about the Earth. But after the story, their teacher pulled out a GIANT Earth they prepared. She invited the children to classify the animals. Do they belong in the sea? Or on land? It created opportunities for children to think – what will happen if these animals’ homes are destroyed? Where will they live? Can they still be happy?
The Earth: Polluted
Over at the other side of the bay, the Nursery teachers have prepared a hands-on activity to illustrate the devastation pollution results in. The children were murmuring and had trouble containing their excitement as they crowded over a large container of water. As their teacher pulled out material after material, their brewing excitement was tangible. “Can you tell me what should go into the ocean?” The children responded in a cacophony of “animals”, “fish”, “octopus”, “ships” and other sea-dwelling creatures. Then, she pulled out a dustbin filled with trash and started throwing them into the water along with the animals! The children could hardly contain their horror.
Witnessing this created a visceral reaction in the children. The activity and the actions of their teacher paved the way for a heated discussion about how we ought to take care of the world. A simple way to do it is by taking care of our litter so we make sure they do not end up in the sea, polluting it. The children also discussed how sea pollution, which seems like a distant from our every day living, will have an impact on our lives eventually.
One of the concluding activities in the centre was helmed by the Kindergarten 2s. After a weeklong discussion and exploration of the pressing in on the need to look after the world, the K2s put up a discussion “tree” outside their classroom. They penned down thoughts and reflections on how they can ensure that the Earth is looked after well. They also invited their family members to contribute ways through which they can change their daily lives or practices to ensure that they are part of the solution.
Small Habits, Big Impact
Earth Day is commemorated world wide once a year, but the habits we practice daily will have a compounded effect all year round.We will not be any help, or provide any lasting solutions if our practices and habits are only changed for that one day. Instead, we should strive to consider the impact of Earth Day, everyday. We hope and pray that this weeklong Earth Day highlight will continue to impact the way we conducted our lives, demonstrating that we care for God’s creation all around us.