One of the three "pillars" of our school philosophy is "Planet Earth." We teach the students to have a reverence and respect for our environment and the earth. It's not something new and fortunately, even at their young age, they have been exposed to these ideas before through media and advertising and the people around them. The next and more difficult task is making this real. We cannot simply introduce a concept or an idea and call it a day. If the ideas stay only on the intellectual level it will not translate to the long term or become true learning. So it is the teacher's task to find ways to convert ideas to reality. Creating practical tasks that connect to the grand ideas is the way of Oisca.
This month we asked parents and students to recycle plastic of any kind. Plastic of all shapes and sizes, mostly bottles, were brought to school, cleaned, and collected. Teachers then implemented a plan. Two practical ways to use the bottles emerged.
First, some plastic bottles were used as pots for the many plants throughout the school. Students could see how their plastic bottles were put to use in a way that effected them daily. The plants they see each day in the school hallways were given new 'homes' provided by them.
Another project was to have students use them for their own gardening. Students made their own plant holders from the bottles and using soil that they dug and seeds that they planted, they started their first gardening project for this term. Students take ownership of their plants. They have to water the plants themselves and decide if they should move them for more sunlight, etc. It's a great project that interests the students, gives them a sense of responsibility, but also connects the ideals and philosophy of the school when it comes to planet earth.