We are a unique group of home educating families raising our children in the North West of England. Environmental education has a special importance in our home educating journey. Our aim is for our children to become self-confident, conscious adults, who contribute to the regeneration of this planet rather than to its destruction. We believe that through play they can learn a tremendous amount and by joining Roots & Shoots we wanted the children to learn about environmental issues too, whilst having fun.
The age of the children in our group ranges between 4 and 9 so we tailor our activities for this age group. We have had various activities in the past 18 months since joining R&S concerned with helping either animals, the environment and/or the human community. One of the children’s favourite activities is World Toilet Day (a UN day on every 15 November) which we traditionally celebrate by making ‘poo cakes’. Using just a few ingredients (plain biscuit, butter, sugar and cocoa powder) the children knead it to the size, colour and shape of their liking. While they are working, we gently quiz them about how they think less fortunate people in developing countries go about their business and discuss the issue with them. A hit activity every year!
Every child loves animals and our aim is that our children keep on loving and respecting the animal kingdom we are part of. For now, we try to help animals on our doorstep, and have made bird food using fat and seeds, sowed wildflower seeds for pollinators to feed on and created an awesome bughouse for solitary bees. It is absolutely heart-warming to see how well children respond and point out flowers and bees every time they see one.
Plastic is a tremendous burden on the planet and our children are well aware of it. Even the littlest ones don’t question recycling, it is the norm for them. Last year we also made a fascinating visit to a local recycling centre with an educational area which was really interesting for children and adults alike. Unfortunately, not all plastic types are recycled but we use the non-recycled ones to create eco bricks. These are plastic bottles filled with unrecyclable plastic to a predefined density, so they are hard and sturdy enough to be used as bricks. It is incredible what these can be used for, from making tables and shelf holders to building actual houses with them. Another way me made use of plastic bottles is making compost in them. These “compost bottles” are using our raw plant-based food scraps and alternating layers of this with layers of soil in a plastic bottle, then leaving them outdoors for bacteria to work its magic.
In the beginning of November, we also disposed of our Halloween pumpkins through feeding wild animals and those in animal shelters. None of our Halloween pumpkins ended up in the landfill.
At Christmas we got the opportunity to take part at the Christmas tree festival of Chester Cathedral which was dubbed “Christmas Tree-Cycled Festival”. The decorations that children prepared had to be made of recycled material. The festival while raising awareness of recycling also supported two local charities.
In 2019 we were honoured with a Gold certificate and an invitation to the R&S award ceremony in London. It was wonderful to see and learn from the creativity of fellow R&S groups and to meet Dr Jane Goodall personally.
Children and adults in our group will continue to strive to make the world a better place for people, animals and the environment.