How classes go at climate change school
Dubai - The school has committed to planting 15,000 trees every year.
After earning its title as the world's first UN climate change-certified school, The Kindergarten Starters (KGS) in Dubai is now ready to take action.
And the first concrete step on KGS' counter-climate change agenda was the launch of its Plant A Legacy (PAL) tree planting campaign on Thursday. The school has committed to planting 15,000 trees every year.
More initiatives are in the pipeline, but the school's primary endeavour is to "integrate climate literacy lessons in class", principal Asha Alexander told Khaleej Times.
"We will be getting access to a climate change literacy portal by EduCCate Global. Every class will have access to these lessons that will be mapped into the curriculum where required, such as in science, social studies, geography, ethics," she said.
"We have been delivering curriculum in a very traditional so we thought of introducing innovative lessons, such as forensic science, which will give them in-depth analysis on how things really start and get out of hand (natural disasters)."
The school's climate literacy drive has been led by Alexander, who was the first to take and complete the rigourous online course in the region.
Soon, all the 300 teaching staff members and 30 other senior leaders of KGS followed, completing the course during the summer holidays. Over 50 parents have also finished the programme and more are on it now.
Redefining climate lessons
While schoolchildren are already learning about weather, climate and the environment in their classes, the changes that KGS is introducing would make sure that the facts, concepts and theories are connected to 'real-world impacts'.
"It's time they learn all these in relation to natural disasters. We believe in teaching them what is current around them, for today and for their future. We will include news of such natural disasters in their curriculum so they stay well informed and cautious," the KGS principal said.
Lessons shall go beyond definitions, a teacher at KGS said.
"Instead of just defining to them what is climate, hurricane, or natural disasters, we are now showing them what's happening around the world and integrating the real-world news in their lessons," said Alethea Vaz, a KGS teacher.
"Greenhouse effect, global warming are just terms for them, but when we connect the whole phenomenon to natural disasters - such as floods that many children witnessed during their vacations in India - they were more keen on learning its causes and effects," she added.
Waste segregation has also started at KGS. They partnered with waste management company Dulsco that has provided them with compost bins.
"Right now, our mission is also to reduce waste from three loads of dry waste to one load per week. Children have been made champions of waste management. The class that generates the least waste will be rewarded," Alexander said.
KGS has also put water-saving aerators on school taps, reducing water flow by 75 per cent.