New Infant School Enjoys Conservation Art
Running after school clubs with slightly older children is quite a different scenario to working with pre-school toddlers, who are capable of understanding general ideas, whereas the kids in my new club at Liphook Infant School are eager to learn exactly why things happen.
There is a special area in the school's reception dedicated to recycling batteries, toothpaste, writing materials and clothes, and the reason these children have chosen to be in my conservation art club is that they, along with encouragement from their parents, are keen to learn more about how we can help the planet now and in the future, even if just little by little.
Since January, we've covered things like the Australian bushfires – still ongoing – the effects of plastic pollution and most recently National Nestbox week. We've also sketched endangered species and discussed how important trees are in helping to fight climate change.
One little girl who had a sprained wrist, but who still continued to sketch and colour in with me, told me that trees breathe out oxygen that we breathe in. Impressed, I went on to say, 'trees also absorb carbon diox...' and she finished my sentence by saying, '…they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere which comes from burning fossil fuels.' Excellent. I then followed this up with, 'the UK has committed to becoming a Net Zero economy by 2050…by planting around…90 – 120 million trees…of broadleaf and conifer woodland each year,' (https://www.theccc.org.uk/2020/01/23/major-shift-in-uk-land-use-needed-to-deliver-net-zero-emissions/).
After a little more explanation, I stood back and thought, wow, I'm going to have to shift things up a gear with these guys so we can really talk facts and figures related to the worldwide environment. This way, we'll be able to see how much information the kids retain and can therefore use beneficially in the future.
I'm very grateful to have been invited to work with such a delightful group of children, and I thank this wonderful school for the opportunity. What I love the most are the quirky things the kids say during the workshops, things I try to gently relate and anchor matter we're discussing that day, so that the conservation issues become more memorable.
It's been a really interesting term so far, and I'm looking forward to seeing how much more the children take on board in the run-up to Easter.