UK Schools: Summer of Change
We believe that the smallest of changes can make the biggest impacts, and just as we know this to be true at home and work, as well as for weddings and parties, it stands for schools too.
There are so many little tweaks and changes that students, teachers and parents can make in order to encourage children to be more aware of and enthusiastic about being environmentally-friendly, and summer is the ideal time to make green changes.
When the term starts to wind down, and the kids start to run home for their long summer break, schools can start making changes and forming plans ready for when the new school year arrives.
To give you some inspiration and guidance, we have listed three easy but effective ways schools, and those learning and working at them, can be far greener. Read on for more.
How can schools save on electricity? By turning the lights out!
Of course, we don’t mean you should actually turn off the lights and leave kids in the dark for hours a day, but there is something to be said for alternative light sources.
Encouraging teachers and students to open blinds and curtains, to let in as much sunlight as possible, is not only beneficial when it comes to energy savings, but also when it comes to the health and focus of the youngsters.
Not only has daylight been proven (see here) to have a positive impact on student health, concentration and performance, but it also comes free of charge and free of emissions. You see, by opening the windows for the best part of the day, and leaving the lights firmly off, you make the classroom a greener, more pleasant, and less headache-inducing place to be.
And for those days where it’s just too dark and grey to work by natural light alone? Switch to LED lighting, which is better quality, as well as more energy-efficient and cost-friendly than traditional incandescent or fluorescent alternatives.
Recycling is one of the simplest and most effective ways to go green, and it is something that schools of every kind can do so easily.
Little ones can have fun putting cut up paper from their art projects in big green boxes marked “Recycling” whilst older kids can be more proactive about recycling everything from drinks bottles and lunch wrappers to old worksheets and uniform they’ve grown out of (you could set up a uniform bank).
Staff can get involved in recycling too, not only cutting down on the waste in their own offices and staff room, but also leading by example, where the students can see them recycling as habit. Over the summer, if you haven’t done already, you could install recycling bins around the school and premises, ready to start a new, greener term come autumn.
To spur on the students and encourage them to recycle by choice, rather than as a chore, you could even set up a system that rewards their efforts. Whether it is gold stars on a chart or a certificate at the end of each term, handing out rewards for recycling and general green behaviour is more likely to encourage students (and even staff) to keep it eco-friendly. Eventually, being green will become second nature to everyone.
Projects beyond the playground
Of course, whilst being greener at school is a big change in itself, being green out of school and making a conscious effort in everyday life is what will have the major impact. That is why staff and students should be encouraged to be green outside of the classroom too, further afield.
You can have class projects that involve litter-picking and tidying up local parks and surrounding areas, or you can let the youngsters be ambassadors for eco-friendly practices, spreading the word and setting examples for adults.
Classes can even find worn out or neglected patches around the area and work together to plant community gardens instead. That way, they have a rewarding project to complete that not only benefits the environment, but also tidies up the neighbourhood and makes it a more pleasant place for residents to enjoy.
These green tweaks are just a taster of what schools can do and how staff and students alike can go green and make a difference.
Whilst in-class education will teach them why thinking about the environment is important and how it will have an impact in the long run, it is by taking immediate action that they will actually start to make a difference.
Here at Little Cherry, we will continue supporting schools as much as possible. Not only will we be offering schools, teachers and parents the chance to win £50 worth of our biodegradable tableware and party supplies (for all those end-of-term dos and fetes!), but we will also be offering a 20% discount code to all those who enter the draw, all summer long.
On top of that, we will keep offering advice and ideas in our blogs and on social media, as well as bring you all the eco-friendly products you know and love; whether you need bamboo cups for storing pens and pencils in the classroom, or palm leaf plates for children’s birthday parties. Just keep your eyes peeled and your actions green!