It is interesting to note that the field of education has a fundamental contradiction. While everyone asserts the importance of ‘sustainable living,’ the subject of the environment continues to be seen as an extracurricular activity in school rather than being given priority. This isn’t only true in India, but the world over. Fortunately, it has not deterred many schools from experimenting and evolving to include the subject of the environment in school life and practices.
Green schools protect the environment, keep teachers and students healthy and promote environmental literacy – that’s a triple win! With kids spending two thirds of their waking hours in school, it’s important that schools have a green policy. One that focuses on pure air quality, healthy lighting, safe outdoor spaces and healthy food, to name a few. While reducing the carbon footprint of a school is an important goal, it is also important to support a connection to and appreciation for the environment.
Learning about the environment at Empyrean School is a continuous program that directly and subtly sensitizes students to the environment through thought provoking activities. In fact, a green school like ours provides fertile ground for hands-on teaching. It’s the ideal place to raise students’ awareness and engage them in physical activity to promote sustainability. For example, teaching students to see garbage in a new light is a lesson on recycling. It is a small step, but one who’s principle can be applied, not only in school but also outside school.
Kids can be taught about being eco-friendly even when they’re having fun! Take for instance, the garbage generated by kids at a picnic. It’s a great place to show kids what is recyclable, what is biodegradable and what isn’t. If we take the concept into the classroom, kids can be taught a lesson during math class – by multiplying the garbage collected by seven days.
At Empyrean School, besides making the premises as aesthetically vibrant and environmentally friendly as possible, our aim is to instil in students a sense of wonder and responsibility for nature. We consider the indoor environmental quality an important feature of our school. We wish to create an optimum environment for learning, one that ensures students can concentrate without distractions. We take care of indoor pollutants and ensure adequate lighting by designing large windows to allow natural light.
Apart from this, we lay stress on environmental education as well. This allows students to become engaged in real world issues that transcend the classroom walls. They can see the relevance of their classroom studies in facing the environmental issues facing the planet and can hence be creative problem solvers and powerful advocates. We believe that if we can teach students about sustainability, we have hope for a brighter future.