Earth Month: Tiny Humans Making a World of Difference
Okay, sure, April showers bring May flowers, but we bet you didn’t expect that April’s celebration of Earth Month would bring an educational (and undeniably adorable) ELS music video to your inbox!
Unbeknownst to many, the ELS classrooms have been host to tiny (but mighty) recycling heroes, who travel from classroom to classroom spreading awareness about reducing unnecessary waste. They even have their own theme song. Jealous? Us too.
Teacher Josh Rifkin is passionate about this effort to educate ELS students about recycling and its significance. “One of the many reasons we teach the children about sustainability is because it’s rooted in the Jewish value of tikkun olam, which reminds us of our responsibility to repair a fractured world. By teaching children to recycle, we can instill this value and work towards a more sustainable future.”
Along with recycling, ELS students are encouraged to interact with the natural world around them in outdoor play, exposure to gardening practices, and believe it or not, through use of modern technology.
Last month, teachers brought vermillion composting into the school, with the hope that educators and children would think and learn together about maintaining a balanced worm ecosystem to create nutrient-rich soil for the ELS garden. Last summer, ELS students explored solar power experientially. They ritualized using solar lights to celebrate shabbat and even cooked outside in solar ovens. ELS students are encouraged daily to interact with and relate to the natural world in a way that, Josh hopes, they can remember for years to come.
“Our outdoor learning garden is one of our most sacred spaces; in this spot, children discover the natural world as a source of wonder and a place that engages their senses. We know that when given time, nature invites children into a world of fantasy and play. The sum total of those experiences leaves children with positive feelings for nature. We hope that those feelings cultivated in our school garden may one day be why the next generation advocates for a sustainable future, chooses sustainable ways of living, and seeks alternative forms of energy.” Engaging in nature-focused activities that shed light on the human impact on the planet is the most effective way for a child to learn the importance of sustainability.
For an inside look on how our ELS students are spreading eco-awareness, and to add a bright spot to your day, take a peek at the video below. Who says sustainability can’t be cute?
*Many thanks to Nick Swann for the video*