Debbie Granick is a parent/childbirth educator and freelance writer. She received a Masters in Social Work and a Masters in Public Health, specializing in Maternal and Child Health, from the University of North Carolina. Her previous work includes counseling adolescents and their families in a substance abuse prevention program, teaching tobacco education and reproductive health in a school setting, and consulting with local child care staff on toddler discipline strategies.

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“Green” Your School

Schools offer endless opportunities to teach and practice care of the earth.  As parents, we can help our children’s schools adopt earth-friendly practices and influence our children to be mindful of protecting earth’s resources.

Here are some changes our school has made.  All of them were suggested by parents! 

  • Adopt earth-friendly holiday celebrations. Use news-wrap for those holiday gift drives; skip the paper decor and use pumpkins and squash for Halloween.
  • Create a school garden.  Kids experience local “farming” and the produce can supplement school lunches or snacks.
  • Discard un-eaten fruits and vegetables into a compost bin.  Compost naturally enriches school landscaping and the school garden.
  • Use washable plates, utensils, and napkins in the school lunch program.
  • Have a “no-trash” lunch day to increase awareness of lunchbox waste.  Encourage plastic containers over baggies, lunch boxes instead of paper bags, and re-usable drink containers.
  • Sell water bottles, Tupperware, and lunch totes, with your school emblem, as a fundraiser.  Or look at “greenraising.com” which specializes in eco-friendly fund-raising products.
  • Use both sides of school papers and recycle everything: paper, cardboard, printer cartridges, milk cartons, phone books
  • Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs and make turning them off a classroom job.
  • Install programmable thermostats and set them conservatively.
  • Put signs in bathrooms reminding students to turn off water and use paper towels sparingly.
  • Use recycled products in the art program.

Parents can also encourage weaving environmentalism into the academic curriculum.  With creative teaching, environmental education does not take up more classroom time. For example: How about a writing assignment titled “How I can help the earth.”  Need vocabulary words? Try:  preservation, conservation, protection.  Math class?  How much do we need to reduce our speed for our cars to be more gas-efficient?  What percent of our earth is a landfill?  Learning research skills?  Research a topic related to environmentalism. 

We’d love to share your ideas for “greening” your child’s school.

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