How to strengthen students’ connection with nature when they are only drawn to online connections?
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The current times are primarily fixated on keeping up with developments in technology and while that’s crucial, we often seem to forget that we’re increasing the disparity between man and nature. In order to prevent children from becoming insensitive to the environment as they grow up and become enmeshed in the hustle and bustle of life, it is crucial to instill the value of developing a connection with nature from an early age.

Schools need to actively work to support students in developing a positive relationship with nature because they are one of the most significant learning environments. Frequent exposure to nature has several advantages for young children, including bettering their physical and mental health. There are less cases of asthma, depression, and other disorders in children who spend more time outdoors. Views of green scenery have been found to aid students in recovering from stress and mental exhaustion.

It is for the same reason that introduced the project ‘Trees for Himalayan Monasteries and Schools’ in Sikkim. This project was a small way to reinforce the importance of expanding the green cover around schools and other areas to encourage learning environments that are healthy, green, and positive.

Nature can be incorporated into the classroom by introducing activities that can help students be close to nature. An excellent way to get students to think about the feelings that nature evokes is by holding some lessons outside and asking them to compare learning in a classroom setting versus studying in a natural one. Another thoughtful exercise is taking students on nature excursions while urging them to take in the sights and smells around them.

Taking a snack or lunch break outside and teaching children how to manage wrappers or any other trash instead of littering the environment can inculcate the importance of waste management for environment and human health. Having plants in the classroom and encouraging students to gift or plant trees on birthdays can be a great way to introduce children to a sustainable and thoughtful way of greeting. Planning planting activities that students can even perform at home may inspire parents to promote environmental sensitivity. What a joy it would be if your kids told you they planted a lemon tree at school and that they would love to do the same in their balcony or backyard?

In many school settings, natural materials can offer intriguing sensory experiences. It’s a brilliant idea to use wood blocks, twigs, or small stones in place of plastic manipulatives or study materials to introduce children to the variety of textures, forms, and colours present in nature.

These tips could be very helpful in teaching eco-friendly behaviour and the advantages of protecting the environment to kids as early as the pre-primary years. However, environmental education ought to be included into the curriculum of both high schools and colleges. When children can relate basic scientific concepts to the real world, learning will be far more effective and lasting. One example is realising how certain pollutants harm marine life and subsequently have an impact on our food supply.

The multidisciplinary nature of Environmental Studies further emphasises its importance in school curriculums. The subject encompasses a wide range of topics such as social, cultural, physical, and biological. Environmental solutions are closely linked with social, political, and economic ramifications as well. Education about the environment is essential for a child’s holistic development, from learning about how natural resources and species react to environmental changes to discovering how the environment plays a significant role in cultures and customs.

Children will be able to brainstorm solutions for the environmental issues we currently face and will have a better understanding of how policies for the environment and human well-being are created if they have an understanding of the origins of these issues. This activity is excellent for encouraging teamwork in the classroom and giving students the chance to think of innovative solutions.

Students need to learn about the environment and biodiversity so that they don’t end up making the same mistakes we did. We didn’t realise we were stomping on the environment for our own needs as we tried to stay up with innovation and technology. Our young people must understand better. They should be educated on the importance of living in harmony with the environment. 

Bikrant Tiwary is the CEO of Views are personal.

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