Teaching Young Children About Environmental Issues

I mentioned in my Starting With Children post that I would post additional information about what our preschool did when teaching about environmental issues.  I asked their preschool teacher for information about what books she used with the children so that I could share the information with others.  She says:

“I just wanted to quickly respond to your questions about how we discussed recycling in the Preschool Room here. Obviously, Earth day and the the installation of recycling bins at the school were wonderful opportunities to introduce recycling to the children. There is a great book called, Thinking Green: My Home with photos by Ann Bogart and published by Smithmark Publishers INC in 1993. Also there is a wonderful song by Jack Johnson on the cd Sing-A-Longs & Lullabies for the Film Curious George called “The 3 R’s” which is all about being “green.” Having a book and/or a song are always good launching pads for preschool discussions. And sorting through the trash that we generated in the Preschool Room and having the children help us decide which things we could recycle and into which bin (paper versus plastic) we should deposit them was also lots of fun.”

I will say this definitely worked.  My son came home chanting “Reduce, Reuse Recycle.”  One day I was talking to my daughter about being careful about ripping holes in her tights, because now we had to throw them away.  My son chimed in “No we don’t mom, we can ‘reduce, reuse or recycle’ them!”  I asked him how we would reduce, reuse or recycle her ripped tights and the told me that we could make sock puppets out of them.   Like a good mom, I put them in the craft bin.   It turns out we didn’t make sock puppets from them, but they came in very handy when he and my mother-in-law needed stuffing for a pillow they were making.

Good luck in turning your children into “reduce, reuse, recycle” monsters,  and if you have any questions or tips you’d like to share,  please let us know!

Happy Greening,

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  1. One of the things we do about town here since my son was little was go for walks and pick up the aluminum cans.

    We then take them to the fire dept. to donate to the burned children’s fund. It gives us four things to talk about: recycling, not litering, helping others who are in need, and fire safety.

  2. For very young kids 2-3 years old, you might enjoy the book _Michael Recycle_. It’s a fun rhyming book that introduces the idea of recycling to keep the world beautiful. Actually, the book is completely appropriate and fun for older kids, too, but the message is a little simplistic to use as a teaching tool for kids who have grown up in a family already very committed to “reduce, reuse, recycle”. My 4 year old twins still sometimes say “I’m Michael Recycle” when they see something to recycle!

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