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Green Classroom

Green Classroom

Eco-Friendly Classroom Initiatives

Green classrooms and school-wide ‘go green’ initiatives are on the rise as educators encourage students to become more environmentally conscious and friendly. By teaching students ways to reduce waste, conserve natural resources, and recycle/reuse materials, green classrooms go a long way in inculcating in children an appreciation for the environment and an awareness of their influence on the world’s landscape.

Educational Benefits of Green Classrooms

Green classrooms have been shown to have significant short-term and long-term benefits for students. A hands-on approach to environmental studies, science projects, and tackling global issues yields the following positive effects:

  • Enhances critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Creates a sense of wonder about the natural and built environments
  • Educates students about important issues facing the planet
  • Teaches kids that they can make a difference
  • Builds confidence and hope
  • Encourages eco-conscious practices and behaviors
  • Connects classroom and out–of–classroom learning
  • Provides hands-on, fun learning experiences
  • Offers opportunities to develop leadership skills
  • Creates opportunities to volunteer and be engaged in the community
  • Builds outreach and fundraising skills
  • Takes students outside for some exercise and fresh air
  • Taps into children’s innate propensity to ‘give back’ and ‘do good’

Eco-Friendly School Furniture

One of the many ways schools and classrooms can go green is investing in green furniture. In addition to delivering to students more healthful and environmentally sound facilities, studies show the profound influence well-designed interiors have on learning. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, air quality and lighting improvements can significantly increase productivity. Furthermore, studies show that sustainable facilities can improve student performance by up to 20%.

To encourage the construction of sustainable, high-performance facilities, the U.S. Green Building Council created the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System. Today, educational facilities have become a strong market for green buildings and LEED certification. Towards this end, environmentally conscious schools are investing in green chairs, green desks and tables, green dry erase boards, green library furniture, green pre-school furniture, and more. Green furniture products are made using manufacturing processes and materials which meet approval standards for emissions and are designed to protect indoor air quality.

Going Green in the Classroom: Ideas and Activities

Here are some popular green classroom ideas and activities:

  • Foster open classroom discussions about environmental topics and what students can do to help
  • Start a classroom recycling program, providing separate bins for paper and plastic and compost bins for food waste
  • Plant trees or construct a classroom greenhouse as students learn about the benefits of plant life and the dangers of deforestation
  • Engage in neighborhood clean-up programs
  • Become green advocates at school and in the community
  • Cut back on classroom clutter and reduce paper waste by: using both sides of the paper when writing and photocopying, use chalkboards/white boards to teach lessons, use scrap paper/materials for arts & crafts activities
  • Replace regular light bulbs with fluorescent classroom lighting
  • Visit local recycling center
  • Design and decorate eco-friendly T-shirts
  • Conserve energy in the classroom by teaching students to turn off lights, computers, and faucets at the end of each day
  • Participate in Earth Day and Go Green Week events and activities
  • Go on outdoor field-trips, walking, taking a bus, or biking to reduce traffic, carbon emissions, and pollution
  • Organize special school-wide events such as “Walk to School Day”

Go Green Opportunities for Teachers and Administrators

Teachers and administrators who are interested in learning ways to connect their students to the environment can check out courses and scholarship opportunities for educators offered by the Green Ambassadors Institute and UCLA Extension, which train teachers on how to integrate environmental education and projects into their regular subjects.

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