This week I have been working with 4 classes of yr 3 + 4 children looking at climate change and pollution in a school in Staffordshire. It’s very relevant topic at the moment and one that seemed to really resonate with the students. We learnt about the ‘Superheroes’ of the world; the rainforests and in particular, trees, and their ability to clean the air and give us the oxygen we so desperately need.
Whenever anyone at Highly Sprung devises a workshop, we look at how we warm up our students and try, as much as possible, to ensure that the warm up is specific to the lesson or subject being taught. This week I did just that and played a simple game of pass the move, gradually increasing the difficulty of the movements the students needed to copy and pass around the room. It wasn’t long before the moves became too difficult for some. When asked why individuals had stopped and not even tried to copy the move, students gave answered that chimed all too well regarding, not just the game, but to people’s attitudes to climate change and the deforestation blighting our rain forests;
“It’s really hard.”“I found it too challenging”“It was tricky”“It really complicated so I just gave up”“What’s the point of trying when you know you’re going to fail”“It’s easy just to do something easy”“Your way took too much time and energy”
My response; “The easiest way to fail is to not try at all. If we all do our best maybe we can make a difference.”
The workshop continued with an exploration of the importance of the rainforests; for the people who call it home, half of the world’s animal species that live in them, their effect on the earth’s weather, their impact in reducing climate change… the list could have gone on for days. It was clear that the students had a great knowledge and understanding of the rainforests and their importance in the world, however what wasn’t clear was their understanding of how bad the deforestation of our beloved Rainforests had become.
In the past 100 years 90% or North Africa’s rainforest has been destroyed.60% of the world used to be covered in forest, it is now just 10%36 football pitches worth of trees are cut down every SECOND!Using specially designed machinery a tree as old as 100yrs can be cut down, stripped of it’s branches and cut into pieces in just 40 seconds.It we continue to chop down trees at the rate at which we are now, we will have no Rainforest in just 80 years.
It was heart warming to hear how concerned the children were upon hearing these facts.
“What can we do?””We need to stop the people from cutting them down!”“If we recycle more paper we won’t need to chop as many trees down.”
It is often suggested that it is the idealistic nature of children that offers them the hope that they can do something to change the world. It’s this desire to make the world a better place that draws me to want to work with young people; their energy, vibrancy and ideology seems to feed my soul and recharge my batteries no matter how tired/weary I find myself. It is this more simplistic outlook that I believe we adults should listen to and follow their ideas and wants for the the world’s future. As my classes this week have discovered; restoring the rainforests to their former glory will be hard, tricky and challenging. It will take time and effort and it definitely won’t be easy to do. We may fail but we mustn’t give up because:
“The easiest way to fail is to not try at all. If we all do our best maybe we can make a difference.”