The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

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Education and Sustainability

The Guardian asks “Is sustainability a key part of education on it’s Environment blog:

“The UK has been ahead with the sustainability school agenda, but I’m worried that they’re now stripping back the work that we’ve spent 10 years developing with the schools,” says Anna Birney from Forum for the Future, a non-profit group promoting sustainable development.

For years, charities and non-profits have been encouraging and helping schools integrate energy into education. One of their main strategies is using energy efficiency projects in schools to teach children about sustainability, by making it part of their learning experience.

“Putting solar panels on the roof of a school building can be a way to show children how much energy can be saved,” explains Birney. “But teachers can also use it as an engagement tool for lessons in science and maths.”

Schools don’t have to create lessons dedicated solely to the environment and energy to teach them about these issues. The point is that this knowledge can be diffused in core subjects like maths, science and even literacy lessons. For example, students from Worcestershire and Warwickshire schools wrote letters to their local MP to voice their concerns about climate change and the environment as part of their literacy lesson.

Studies conducted by Ofsted have shown positive results from schools that integrated sustainability into their curriculum. In some cases, children were getting better marks and were seen as more positive about learning in general. According to Birney, children get excited to learn about real life issues and the prospect of making a change.

While some groups suggest that lessons on sustainability should be taught in higher education, it would appear that the ideal age to start engaging students in these issues is actually primary school. Mike Wolfe from CREATE, another non-profit dedicated to sustainable development, explains that interest on the subject peaks between the ages of 9-14. Later, students have less time to sacrifice as workload increases for GCSEs and A-levels.

Readers can find the article here.