QF schools improve children’s development through environmental education
09 Dec. 2020 – 8:50
Qatar Academy Sidra students plant trees and flowers
Doha: Qatar Academy Sidra students recently planted seasonal trees, bushes, plants and flowers around campus to honor Dr Jane Goodall’s pledge to plant five million trees in 2020 and to help create a “green” local community.
It included 15 trees, 20 bushes, 150 tomato plants and more than 500 seasonal flowers. “The planet is in danger and children understand it,” said Preet Dhaliwal, a sustainable development education coach at Qatar Academy Sidra (QAS), which is part of the Qatar Foundation’s pre-university education.
“They are feeling the effects of pollution and hearing about climate change – this is no longer new. Getting them to engage with the environment and educating them about it is the only way to ensure that they will be agents of change. “
Engaging children in hands-on activities to increase awareness of their environment not only instills in them a sense of responsibility to their planet and society, but also brings a multitude of benefits for their personal and community development. According to Dhaliwal, “greening” is a great opportunity for kids to leave the classroom, get their hands dirty, and channel their energy into something that is both fun and educational.
And in an increasingly digital and technology-driven world, encouraging students to spend time observing and interacting with their surroundings also has a profound impact on their development and their ability to make inferences and connections. “For example, through these activities, we aim to give children a better understanding of where their food comes from,” said Dhaliwal.
“They are starting to learn that the tomatoes they are eating have not only arrived at the supermarket, they have sprouted from the ground, in the ground. The eggs they eat for breakfast, or even the cocoa beans in the chocolates they love so much, come from nature.
In order to improve the connection that children feel with the environment and their surroundings, QAS approaches sustainability through the prism of a compass. We want students to be made aware of responsible production and consumption. Children learn fast fashion, for example. How important is it to buy that extra jacket or jeans? Where do we get rid of our old clothes?
“It helps kids think about the how, why and where of their daily practices. At some point, they also start to influence their families and move the conversation forward, which is the start of their journey to become agents of change, ”said Dhaliwal.
The south and the west refer to “society” and “well-being” respectively. This enables children to be educated on global policies and sustainable development initiatives and on how to be agents of change and the long-term well-being of themselves, their loved ones and the world. Children often approach Dhaliwal with their ideas for composting in their own homes or encouraging recycling in their homes.
QAS also collaborates with other entities around QF who advocate for sustainability. Professors from Hamad Bin Khalifa University visited the school to talk to primary and secondary school students about the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 ™ and how stadiums are being built sustainably. They also educated students on green buildings around QF, the carbon oxygen cycle, and solar energy.