These days, the government has been stepping up its efforts to promote eco-friendly solutions to Singaporeans. Aside from rolling out electric cars and developing better green spaces for the public, the government has also redoubled its efforts in schools to teach students about the importance of going green. Without an abundance of natural resources to draw from, it is all the more essential that Singaporeans start cultivating eco-friendly habits from young.
Education Minister Lawrence Wong has highlighted this proposed shift towards a greener curriculum. School buildings will be designed to be more eco-friendly, and topics such as conservation and sustainability will be emphasised in the school curriculum. For instance, the new upper secondary Geography syllabus will have topics organised around the theme of sustainability.
Currently, many schools have already implemented green initiatives to educate students about saving the Earth, from environmental project work to promoting eco-gardens in schools. Yet it is not only the government or school’s responsibility to take care of the environment. Parents can also start teaching their children about going green. Resources don’t last forever, so it is important for parents to teach their children the necessity of conserving resources and reducing wastage. Along the way, parents can also expose their child to the scientific concepts behind certain environmental processes, such as how waste is decomposed.
Here are some tips on how you can get your child to go green:
1. Develop green habits
Good habits start from young. It is important to cultivate eco-friendly habits in your child so that he or she can continue these habits into adulthood. For example, Elias Park Primary School rewarded students who finished all the food they ordered with stickers and certificates, to encourage zero food wastage. Likewise, you can use such a reward system to encourage your child not to waste food at home.
Alternatively, simple reminders such as switching off the lights and fans when leaving the room, and turning off the tap to save water, can help your child to develop a more environmentally-conscious mindset. If your child helps with the household chores, show them tips on how they can waste less water and how recycling can be done at home.
2. Conduct experiments
Make saving the Earth more engaging and fun with small projects! This makes learning about eco-friendly topics more accessible while also teaching your child about Science-related concepts as well.
Here is one experiment to teach your child about the harmful effects of oil spills:
(i) Fill a tin pan about halfway full with water, then add some oil into the pan.
(ii) Try to clean up the oil with different methods (tissues, a spoon etc.).
(iii) Then, try to clean up the oil with dish soap.
This experiment shows how difficult it is to clean up oil spills and why we need an emulsifying agent like the dish soap to clean it up.
There are other experiments you can try at home with your child. For instance, teach your child about the water cycle and the importance of saving water in another experiment here.
3. Use different learning resources
There are plenty of learning materials about saving the environment that cater to children. From YouTube videos to Science magazines, many of these resources offer a chance for children to learn about topics such as sustainability and conservation. For instance, STEAM magazines include topics that teach children about the saving the Earth and the scientific processes behind environmental phenomena in a fun and engaging manner.
Many students are already exposed to such knowledge in schools. They learn about topics such as the carbon cycle, the effects of greenhouse gases and climate change during Geography and Science lessons, while discussions on the climate are encouraged during English and General Paper lessons. Encourage your child to read up more about these topics beyond what is taught in the classroom by exploring the different resources mentioned above.
4. Explore the outdoors
Nothing beats heading out to experience nature first-hand. Bringing your child to parks and nature trails exposes them to the beauty of nature and allows them to better appreciate what they have been taught in school. Examples include places like Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and MacRitchie Reservoir, which are teeming with plant and animal life.
There are many ways to teach your child eco-friendly habits. If you are unsure of where to start, try having conversations first about the topic at home to get your child interested. From there, encourage them to try out some activities as a family. It may take some time for your child to understand and appreciate the importance of saving the Earth, but it is important to start teaching them early. After all, it’s their future we are saving!