On National Green Day a team from Rematerialise (who produces sustainable eco-friendly products as mentioned in my previous post) went to Dove House School to teach the students about sustainable materials. The team wanted to increase their outreach from industries to education.
The students (most of which are autistic) were asked to bring in any of the common items that they recycle such as plastic bags, containers, aluminum cans, jars, newspaper, etc. The Rematerialise team then showed the children what they could do with those "trash" items. An example was making a bar stool completely out of recycled aluminum cans. The team also brought along their own supplies, including BioViron Materials, which can quickly dissolve in water (within 24 hours) and leave no harmful toxins. From this they let the students create masks and hats. When the kids were tired with their new creations they could dissolve them in water rather than throw them away. This creates the idea that recycling is fun and that there are other more environmentally beneficial ways to dispose of things rather than just throwing it out. The event was such a success and had a great influence on the kids that the school has invited the team back for the next year.
Another source says that to have effective environmental education there are five steps that must be followed.
1. Programs must be learner-orientated, meaning that people develop personal meaning through the experience and that the program is age-appropriate.
2. Programs have to promote wonder in that individuals gain curiosity and pursue these feelings. This will lead to an appreciation for the environment.
3. Programs should relate directly to the individual's life and culture (ex: local awareness) so that they feel more encouraged to get involved.
4. Programs must be action-orientated where they're hands-on and address real problems. This builds confidence and hope in the learner.
5. Programs should focus on the bigger connection between people and their actions so that everyone feels like they have a role and can make a difference.