“Going green” and embracing an eco-friendly lifestyle is something we all should strive for, if for no better reason than it’s the right thing to do– and as educators, isn’t that what we are supposed to model for our students, doing the right thing? Taking care of our environment is vital now more than ever, and schools can do a lot to help this movement. Not only can we reduce our carbon footprint, but we can also teach and show our kids that this is something we need to place an importance on and gain environmental literacy. Becoming an eco-friendly school isn’t just great for the environment either, it’s also essential for teachers and students.
Top 5 Advantages of Being an Eco-Friendly School:
Teachers and students spend the majority of their day inside, meaning we are all breathing the same, unfiltered air. Ventilation is crucial in schools simply because of a large number of people. By installing energy recovery ventilation equipment, the school can save money by reducing energy usage, and the equipment can reduce air contaminants coming into the building. By reducing air contamination, we lower the chance of respiratory illness, asthma-related issues, allergy problems, and so on. This leads to fewer absences from students and faculty. This also plays a role in students’ alertness because fresh, clean air is critical for their minds to function at their peak. It seems like common sense, but when laid out like this it’s hard to argue against installing some sort of environmental friendly system to better our air and cut down on energy usage.
Even though it may seem like a large, monetary undertaking at first, in the long run becoming eco-friendly will actually save the school money. A green school on average saves about $100,000 each year, which could be spent more usefully elsewhere. Making the transition from paper-based teaching to technology or internet sourced also goes hand-in-hand with cutting costs. For example, switching from regular to recycled paper might cost a bit more, but if we also start distributing our “handouts” electronically we won’t be using as much and will, therefore, spend less.
Getting students excited about an energy saving initiative is the best way to teach them about the environment and influence their world awareness. Let them dive into figuring out ways to make their school more “green” and watch them flourish. If they see that the adults in the school are as invested in their project as they are, they will take it more seriously than a book report and learn while making a difference. Depending on how far they take it, students will be forced to think critically and problem solve with others. It will make them realize that they can make a difference and build up their confidence and hope of conserving our planet. You could even have kids get in contact with other students nationally or internationally to collaborate and share ideas. Talk about project-based learning!
Improved Test Scores & Overall Student Achievement
Study after study shows that students from green schools are healthier, more engaged, and produce higher test scores. Again, when you think about it, it makes sense. Better air quality, natural lighting, safer forms of transportation, all lead to a healthier pupil. Good ventilation, reduced noise, natural lighting, and cleanliness leads to fewer illnesses which leads to fewer absences. Fewer absences lead to more class time which results in more content being absorbed. Healthier students with more content knowledge are more likely to perform at a higher standard than if they are in an unhealthy environment. It also just makes anyone in the building feel better and have more energy to teach and learn.
It’s Good for the School, the Community, and the World
As energy costs continue to rise, energy-saving equipment and techniques are becoming more attractive. The more the school pays, the more taxpayers spend. Also, if the faculty, staff, and students of the schools are passionate about the change to becoming eco-friendly, that will spill over into the community. Kids will be talking to their parents. Teachers will be changing their habits at home. The more people we educate on conserving our environment, the quicker we will see results.
Start with small steps:
- Organize Class Cleanup Days
If possible, get a class or a group or a club together and make it into a cleaning party. Use organic, harmless cleaners, and tackle classrooms a little at a time. Eliminating dust, allergens, and mold will do wonders for the air quality.
- Rid your School of Toxic Chemicals
Put forth the idea of cleaning up your cleaners. There are so many healthier options available, we shouldn’t be using anything toxic, especially around children. The maintenance staff is also at risk when using them because they are inhaling these chemicals day after day. Talk to the administration about green solutions for cleaning products as well as ice melt and weed control.
- Go Paperless
Very rarely do I make paper copies of assignments or handouts in my classroom because I can instantly upload anything and everything to my Google Classroom site. There are other mediums to do this through as well, but I find Google the easiest. My kids can access all of their assignments in one place, and if they prefer a tangible copy they can print it out. Another headache for teachers is organizing a field trip and all of the paperwork that comes with it. Use Script, an app that manages all of the forms and process from going through the administration to sending home permission slips to parents. You will have everything you need in one place instead of wasting all of that paper and having to cart around a binder with every student’s permission slip, emergency contact sheet, etc.
Do what you can. Start small, and if all teachers start a change in their own classrooms, it will quickly escalate into a school movement!
We provide software to manage the process end to end for field trips. We allow teachers to go online and submit an activity or field trip to administration and the administration can review the activity or field trip and approve it. Then it gets digitally sent to parents to allow them to digitally pay and sign with their fingers on the app. No more exchanging of paperwork, losing paper, tracking it manually, and handling cash. Less work for teacher, administrators, finance people, and students
Read our previous blog post discussing tips for educators on what to do before a field trip! You can read it here
To learn more about Script and how to streamline your K12 school processes such as field trips, aftercare, parent purchases, digital permission slips, please feel free to book a demo at www.scriptapp.com