A classroom without walls? Sounds lush to us and an idyllic environment in which to educate kids. Bali’s Green School is situated in a natural and pristine compound and champions green initiatives and earth-friendly strategies as part of its curriculum. But while it would be awesome to de-camp to Bali and live in nirvana on earth, it’s not practical for one and all. So we’ll take the next best thing…
Our friends at White Lodge Kindergarten recently visited the “Greenest School on Earth,” to learn a bit about how to go green at home. They enjoyed a stimulating time of discovery as well as sharing their own knowledge in an ultimate exchange of ideas, putting paid to their virtue of giving back. And back White Lodge have come to Singapore too with a slew of simple eco-friendly tips that we can all adopt at home – no matter where our kids go to school. It’s one earth that we’re all on after all.
1. Start recycling centre at home.
Collect old bottles, aluminium cans, and newspapers in large carton boxes, and encourage your child to label each carton. This activity also helps introduce science (understanding materials) and math (sorting out different materials) concepts, and can double up as craft materials.
2. Make a reusable shopping bag.
Give new life to an old cloth bag and let your child express his/her creativity by decorating it with child-safe acrylic paint and fabric paint. You can even zip one up on a sewing machine or adapt a pillow case. Try to say no to plastic bags as often as possible too. When its time to do the grocery shop, take your child-customised cloth bag or at least re-use the plastic bags you already have.
3. Bring your own bottle.
While it’s common for kids to use their own permanent bottles to carry water about, try to cut-down on the purchase of over-the-counter beverages too. It’s better on the environment, your wallet, and their health! If they do insist on a juice here and there, why not dispense it from your regular juice container at home before you go out.
4. Design green posters.
Ask the kids to make signs and pictures encouraging the family to reduce, reuse and recycle. Stick them up in meaningful places in the home. While it may not change behaviour greatly, it will create awareness and the fact that the kids are getting involved in sending messages means they’re taking these messages on board for themselves too and learning.
5. Start an indoor garden.
Involve your children in starting a small garden of edible plants either on the windowsill, the balcony or outdoors if you have the space. Hop on over to our balcony garden article to get started. Duties include taking turns to water plants and plucking herbs when prepping for meals. It’s a great way to give your kids a sense of responsibility, teach them about nature and biology and make them aware of where their food comes from. Plus, you save a bit of cash!.
6. Make plastic pots.
Cut plastic bottles in half to make makeshift pots. Your kids can plant seeds and herbs and help them grow. Since they are see-through, your little ones can observe and monitor the shoot’s growth regularly. As well as teaching them about gardening, they also learn the value of recycling and re-purposing items available to us.
7. Use your body.
Declare a car-free day for the family, or opt for other modes of travel such as walking, jogging, scootering, cycling or skating when heading out to nearby places. It’s a great way to promote healthy living and reduce air pollution at the same time.
8. Organise a beach or park cleanup campaign.
Arm yourselves with trash bags and gloves, and take a short walk along the sandy shores of East Coast Park, Sentosa, Pasir Ris or somewhere else on our lucky island and pick up all the trash you see. Explain how these items affect fragile marine life and have some fun collecting shells and spotting crabs while you’re at it.
9. Make small changes.
Every small change makes a good impact on the health of the earth, so don’t think you aren’t making a difference by adopting new ways in your daily life. Simple ways to save water at home include teaching your kids the difference between two types of flushes in the washroom, turning off the taps when brushing teeth, or choosing to find a bin to throw litter in.
10. Share and educate.
Take your children on walks around nature reserves, parks or beaches to help them see how special the earth truly is. Bring them out for a picnic and help them grow a deep appreciation for flora and fauna. Respecting and enjoying their surroundings from a young age will more likely make them preservers of our finite resources in the future.
Thanks White Lodge Kindergarten for sharing these fabulous green tips, we can’t wait to get started!