Climate change and environmental conservation have become critical issues in today’s world. We know that early childhood education plays a vital role in shaping a child’s perception of the world and their place in it so by introducing children to concepts like climate change and environmental conservation at a young age, we can instill in them a sense of responsibility and empower them to become future stewards of the planet.
Educating children on these topics not only equips them with knowledge but also cultivates values such as empathy, sustainability, and environmental consciousness. Moreover, research has shown that early exposure to nature-rich experiences has numerous benefits for a child’s physical, cognitive, and emotional development.
At Learn to Play, we’ve been implementing the Earth Warriors curriculum at our playgroups across Botswana and we love that there is an early learning, play-based programme that’s focused on climate change and environmental conservation. Through our collaborative efforts (funded by Their World), we aim to create awareness, inspire action, and foster a love for nature among young children – all in line with our sustainable play ethos.
In the last 6 months, I’ve appreciated at least nine incredible ways that our Mamapreneurs have integrated the Earth Warriors programme to further augment their efforts in creating a sustainable, community driven approach to early learning and environmental education.
Playgroups and Community Engagement
Learn to Play offers free access to early learning playgroups within communities across Botswana – our playgroups provide safe, nurturing and fun outdoor spaces where children can interact with each other and learn through play. By using the Earth Warriors curriculum within this environment, children are encouraged to explore and understand the effects of climate change on their immediate surroundings. Through games, role-playing, and group activities, children develop a deeper understanding of environmental challenges and the importance of conservation.
Teaching about Climate Change
Both Earth Warriors and Learn to Play curricula focus on teaching children about climate change, conservation and even issues such as global warming. Through age-appropriate materials, fun relatable characters, and interactive lessons, we’re creating a positive learning environment that fosters curiosity, critical thinking, and a love for nature. Children learn about the causes and consequences of climate change; they explore topics such as greenhouse gases, melting ice caps, and extreme weather events, developing a comprehensive understanding of the challenges our planet faces. Through hands-on activities, storytelling, and arts and crafts, children are encouraged to explore and understand the impact of climate change on their local environment and develop a sense of responsibility towards its conservation.
Promoting Wildlife Coexistence
One of the key aspects of what we do is promoting wildlife coexistence, especially since many of our playgroups are in wildlife corridors. Children learn about the importance of preserving biodiversity, different habitats and protecting endangered species. They understand the delicate balance of ecosystems and the role they can play in supporting wildlife conservation efforts.
Encouraging Recycling and Waste Management
Earth Warriors and Learn to Play both emphasise the importance of recycling and waste management. Children are taught about the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. They learn how to sort and separate recyclable materials, create compost and eco-bricks, and reduce their overall waste footprint. These practices instill a sense of responsibility towards the environment and promote sustainable habits.
Learning about Sustainable Practices
Sustainability is a key focus of Earth Warriors and Learn to Play. Children are introduced to sustainable practices such as water conservation, energy efficiency, and organic gardening. They learn how small lifestyle changes can have a significant impact on reducing carbon emissions and preserving natural resources.
Exploring the Environment
With our playgroups in outdoor environments, children have the opportunity to explore their local environment not just through free play, but through guided exploration activities. The hands-on experiences enable children to connect with nature, observe its beauty, and understand the importance of protecting it for themselves and others.
Fostering a Love for Nature and the Outdoors
Earth Warriors and Learn to Play aim to foster a love for nature and the outdoors in children. We provide plenty of opportunities for children to spend time in natural settings, encouraging outdoor play, exploration, and discovery. By developing a personal connection with nature, children develop a sense of responsibility towards its conservation.
Building Environmental Awareness Through Art and Creativity
Art and creativity play a significant role in the curriculum. Children are encouraged to express their understanding of climate change and environmental conservation through various forms of art, including painting, sculpture, and storytelling. These creative activities not only enhance their artistic skills but also help them internalise the importance of protecting the environment and taking action against climate change.
Empowering Children to Take Action for the Environment
One of our shared core objectives is to empower children to take action for the environment. Earth Warriors has badges, certificates and ceremonies to acknowledge children’s commitment and action so they develop the confidence and motivation to make a difference and contribute positively to the world around them.
Our future is bright
By fostering environmental awareness, promoting sustainable practices, and empowering children to take action, the Earth Warriors programme is helping us lay the foundation for a generation of environmentally conscious citizens who are equipped to tackle the challenges our planet faces.
As the saying goes, “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” Together, we can instill in children the knowledge, values, and passion needed to safeguard their future and the future of the planet.