The Future of Teaching Green

The Future of Teaching Green – How to Implement Sustainability in Early Education

by Erin Lorde


One of the best ways to introduce sustainability into the curriculum, especially for the younger generation, is to show them rather than tell them.

A study done in 2011 revealed that approximately 80,000 tonnes of food waste came from schools – which had an estimated cost of around £250,000. By offering students the opportunity to witness first-hand the consequences of their actions and the advantages of incorporating environmentally friendly techniques, they can begin to develop a greener mindset. 

But how can educators truly shape behaviours that contribute to preserving our planet’s well-being? 

Even if the school space lacks greenery, the strategies below can be applied to any area available to make sure the children are as involved as possible.

School Growing Patches:

Allocating dedicated spaces where vegetables can be grown is a brilliant way to connect students with nature and help them foster a deeper understanding of food production and sustainability. Not only do school gardens provide healthy food lessons for students, but they also contribute to improved air quality, and the creation of habitats for wildlife. 

Engaging in gardening activities will push pupils to learn valuable lessons about responsibility, sustainability, and ecological living.

Water harvesting:

Teaching children about water conservation from an early age can have a long-lasting impression on how conscientious they are about the environment. Installing things like water butts on school grounds provides a simple solution to reduce water consumption and teaches them the value of using nature to their advantage.

By capturing rainwater from roofs and other surfaces, water butts serve as alternative sources for activities like watering plants, handwashing, floor cleaning, and toilet flushing. 

This not only saves money but also teaches valuable lessons about resource conservation and how the water cycle can help us reduce waste. 

Classroom Composting:

It’s easy to be put off by the idea of classroom composting, but it’s an invaluable tool for teaching students about the importance of recycling organic waste. Involving kids in the composting process allows schools to instill a sense of responsibility and environmental stewardship and can get pupils excited to see the changes in the composting process. 

Activities such as setting up a worm bin to demonstrate decomposition boosts their understanding of the environmental benefits. 

Actively participating in composting can help pupils develop lifelong habits of reducing waste and nurturing the Earth.

Eco-Friendly Meals:

75% of global food supplies come from just 12 plants and 5 animals, demonstrating a need to preserve species as much as possible. This is where sustainable school meals come in.

This can be done in several ways depending on the resources available, like supporting local farmers who partake in sustainable agricultural practices or supporting local food businesses with organically sourced produce. In terms of packaging and waste, schools can contribute by avoiding single-use plastics and non-recyclable wrapping materials and choosing reusable containers or trays instead. 

These sorts of methods can help educate students about the connection between their food choices and the environment while reducing waste and fostering a greener lifestyle.

Slowly introducing ways to showcase how sustainability can be as easy as using a different bin, schools can begin to influence the future generation early. This should ultimately allow them to help keep the planet healthy whilst having fun and finding joy in going green.