《声音》 VOICES Ivy's VOICES Fall/Winter Edition 2018 - Page 24

IVY BILINGUAL SCHOOL At the Ivy Ocean Express Campus, we make it a priority to set aside a week out of the fall semester, as a community, to focus on how we can appreciate and protect the environment. It’s a pivotal opportunity to empower them to feel capable and heard, and to really encourage them to think about how they can use their skill sets and share their ideas to make a difference in both an educational and fun way. During this particular week, which we refer to as “Environmental Week,” we guide the children to make art crafts and even games using a variety of recyclable materials. Some of the materials we used this year included: bottle caps, tissue paper rolls, boxes of all sizes, paper plates, buttons and straws. The children and their parents contributed a large number of recyclable materials, which we are still using to make crafts. Our closet is still overflowing with boxes, bottle caps, and tissue paper rolls! In our classroom, we begin each circle time by talking about the days of the week, weather conditions, temperatures, and even the air quality. At the beginning of the school year, we limited our AQI (Air Quality Index) terms to “good,” “bad,” and “so-so.” We have now been in school for nearly 4 months and the children themselves have decided that we needed to add “very good” and “very bad” when discussing the air quality. It only recently occurred to me that high air quality levels are a strong indicator that they cannot go outside to play, and more often than not they are limited to the classroom. They are at times circumscribed by their environment, so let us not restrict them in what they have to share with us. At the beginning of “Environmental Week” we talked about air and water pollution. I asked them, “Why do you think the air and some of our water sources are so bad?” I was expecting them to shrug their shoulders and reply with an, “I don’t know.” I was taken aback when the first child to raise his hand started talking about how cars contributed to the air pollution. Once he spoke up, the other children started to talk about factories, overpopulated cities, littering, and contributed. In that moment, I stood corrected. Playing outside was, and is, so dear to these 4-year-old boys and girls that they had evidently thought about the reasons as to why they are to remain inside when the air quality is poor. I had a thought come to mind: even when we are affected by poor environmental conditions, we are simultaneously surrounded by children whose ideas are inexhaustible. We spent the next couple of days talking about the many steps we can take to recognize, reverse, and reduce air and water pollution. As we were discussing air pollution and the three R’s of the environment - reduce, reuse, and recycle - one of the children said, “If we can hurt our environment, we can also help it.” Ivy Schools Fall/Winter Edition 2018