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 because they, along with encouragement from their parents, are keen to learn more about how we can help the planet going forward, even if just little by little.
Since January, I signed the school up to Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots education programme for young people to give the school more ideas about possible interesting conservation projects they could run with the children. The kids have also begun to cover things like the Australian bushfires – still ongoing – the effects of plastic pollution and most recently National Nestbox week with me, as well as sketching endangered species and discussing the importance of trees 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 how trees also absorb carbon…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 world wide environment. This way, we’ll be able to see how much information the kids retain and can therefore use in an environmentally friendly and beneficial way in the future…For more information visit www.doodleswithmydaughter.co.uk.