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How Green is Your School?

Green schools are popping up throughout the nation and receive this title based on a variety of components. Organizations such as Virginia Naturally in our home state recognize schools that are making the efforts to promote students and teachers who are “going green.” So what are some things that schools have implemented that closely match this mission? One simple thing is to “teach green,” meaning your school theme, mission, or curriculum instruction supports environmental education.

Environmental education teaches children how to learn about and investigate their environment and to make intelligent, informed decisions about how they can take care of it. This study is incorporated throughout the curriculum from science to math and social studies to language arts. A very effective way to ensure you are exposing your students to this content is by implementing environmental literacy. Many great children’s books have been written to both entertain and educate young readers about science.

Turtle Without a Home, written by educators in northern Virginia, is just one example of environmental text. In this story, Ted the turtle has to leave his home because of pollution. The authors have written lesson plans to match this book and travel to schools, museums, and organizations throughout the nation bringing this message to life. This resource received the Nature Appreciation Honor by Skipping Stones Magazine and was selected as an environmental read by Virginia Naturally. While this book uses animals to teach the lesson, it is important to recognize that resources are being taken away from people too, and we need to do our part to conserve our natural resources.

With several of our environmental holidays approaching this month, this is the perfect time to think about how our schools can support the environment. Students and teachers can easily reduce, reuse, and recycle materials in their schools. Some schools have started  Green Clubs and involve "Green student ambassadors" to promote the cause. Other schools have created gardens, which are used to plant vegetables that can be used for healthy school snacks. Mark your calendar for Environmental Education Week, April 13th-19th and Earth Day on April 22nd. When we teach and engage students and parents in environmental education, we learn more how to save our earth.

We'd like you to share with us here - just how green is your school?

Article by: Kathryn Starke, a literacy specialist, children's author, and freelance educational writer. She is the founder/CEO of Creative Minds Publications, a global educational company. Join the educational conversations with Creative Minds Publications on Facebook.