Tips on how to teach students the impact we can have on the earth, and what we leave for future generations
22 April 2022| Last updated on 22 April 2022
Talking with your kids about sustainability is incredibly important, but it can be tricky to know where to start.
At the Swiss International Scientific School Dubai (SISD), it is believed that you can't be too young to learn about ways to save the planet. Sustainability is one of the key focuses at the Dubai-based IB school.
In this article, we'll cover three simply ways parents can teach their children about sustainability, so they can grow up to become climate-aware global citizens for our planet.
1. Enroll them in a sustainability-focused Dubai school.
An easy way to educate your child about sustainability is to ensure they’re learning about it at school. The Swiss International Scientific School's Sustainability Coordinator manages the school’s sustainability programme. They ensure that the students are aware of the problems our planet is facing and how to prevent them.
SISD understands the importance of Educating for Sustainability (EfS). Indeed, it involves a deep understanding and awareness of the interconnectedness and dependency of our social, economic, and environmental systems.
The school is also a member of the Eco-Schools Programme.
It’s why they employ a whole-school approach to Educating for Sustainability (EfS). The IB school incorporates sustainability concepts and key understandings throughout the curriculum and reflect them in the school’s day-to-day practices.
The main objectives of SISD's approach to EfS are to:
- Instill the knowledge, skills, attitudes, attributes, actions and enduring understandings of sustainability practices within the entire school community
- Fully integrate the campus design, daily operations and local community into the curriculum, teaching and learning. (The Ellen McArthur Foundation Circular Economy is used in the IB Curriculum)
- Move SISD towards a Circular Economy model
SISD also takes part in the Dubai Can initiative, which aims to reduce single-use plastic water bottle waste in the emirate.
The Ashden and Green Schools Alliance offers great ideas on how to get your child more involved in sustainability.
2. Introduce sustainability experts to your children.
Integrating sustainability into the curriculum and encouraging students to inquire further can build a great foundation. It can also be very helpful to introduce your children to subject experts who can answer questions and talk to kids about more practical ways to be sustainable.
A good example is the Canadian non-profit organisation, Green Teacher, dedicated to helping educators both inside and outside of schools to promote environmental awareness among students.
SISD recently hosted a beekeeper who came in to talk about the importance of bees to our planet.
3. Celebrate awareness days.
Earth Day, which is marked every year on April 22, is a great opportunity to raise awareness about sustainability in your household, but there are other days that celebrate other aspects of the planet.
Other environmental awareness days include:
- World Wetlands Day (February 2)
- World Wildlife Day (March 3)
- International Day of Forests (March 21)
- World Water Day (March 22)
- World Bee Day (March 20)
- International Day for Biological Diversity (May 22)
- World Oceans Day (June 8)
- International Day of the Tropics (June 29)
- International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies (September 7)
- and World Habitat Day (October 4), among others.
Recently, SISD celebrated World Planting Day on March 21 with their students.
Some ways you can celebrate Earth Day (or other sustainability awareness days in Dubai) as a family include:
Some ways you can celebrate Earth Day (or other days) as a family include:
- hiking or going for a bike ride
- planting a tree
- caring for your garden
- visiting a garden in your city
- buying produce from a farmers’ market and cooking a meal
- cleaning up garbage at a nearby park or beach
- going camping or have an “unplugged” day at home
- reading environmentally themed books like The Lorax
- making a list of how your family plans to live more eco-friendly
Outside of school, there are many activity guides and citizen science projects available for your children to learn about environmental education. The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) in the USA has an environmental education page, among other resources.
SISD believes social, cultural, economic and environmental awareness is essential. Indeed, it prepares us to play our part in shaping a better future for ourselves and those around us. Their whole-school approach to sustainability is integrated into all facets of school life.