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We are looking for ideas for Earth Day (22.04.17)


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We want to plan some focused activities around Earth Day which is on is 22nd April. This is the day when individual families and local authorities around the world turn all their lights out and activities involving energy conservation are especially relevant.

There are many website with suggestions for activities or activities that might be adapted – for example:


The Co-op Green Schools Revolution

We like the idea of teaching children about alternative energy sources, making windmills and waterwheels, creating a weekly ‘Energy Monitor’ whose task it is to make sure the lights are out and electrical devices are switched off when not required. There are also some good ideas from California that could be adapted


On Earth Day 2016 The UN Paris Agreement on Climate Change was agreed, and it will come fully into force on 4th November 2016. The central aim of the agreement is for nations to work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to keep the planets average temperature rise due to global warming below 2 °C (above pre-industrial levels) and to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. While it might be considered to represent only a short-term variation, in the first half of 2016 average temperatures were about 1.3 °C above the average of 1880, when global record-keeping began.

The UK Climate Change Act established a target for the UK to reduce its emissions by at least 80% from 1990 levels by 2050 and these reductions will have a huge impact on our everyday life. We have to find ways to use energy much more efficiently and our use of fossil fuels has to be phased out. Education for sustainable development has a role to play in preparing children for, and in support of these changes.

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Hi John and I apologise for the slightly tongue in cheek answer. I guess the issue with the planning for a particular day for me is making it relevant to the child's learning....some will know lots, others may not understand the issues at all. For me I am dealing with children under the age of 5 and have a lot of children with SEND and EAL which can make it tricky to introduce these sorts of topics unless they are active and relevant.

Earth day is very much celebrated in the 'girl guides' community and they have lots of ideas available...perhaps simple ideas would be the best like introducing a compost bin or adding a recycled paper bin to the classroom, making a wormery or bug hotel might also work in introducing sustainability. Good luck with the project!

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I wouldn't worry too much about the knowledge content or how deep the children's understanding is. Sustainable citizenship is an emergent capability (like reading). We shouldn’t be 'teaching' it in the early years - We should be trying to give children the experiences that will lead them towards it... If you can get one simple message across – that literally MILLIONS of people, rich and poor, from cities and countryside in every continent, are pulling together around the world to make it a better place by not wasting so much - and that they (every child) is a wonderful and exciting part of that global community action - then you will have made a really big contribution. The 'day' itself (22nd April) can involve some action – something locally relevant ideally but planting a tree is both a symbolic and valuable contribution in its own right.




The day could also be a celebration of having taken part in the switch off for Earth Hour (March 25th) which again is an event shared by Millions (I think maybe now Billions) of people from all around the world. It might be interesting to make suggestions about how to spend that hour and/or share stories about how people spent it. I think the most important thing of all is probably for the children to be celebrating and feel proud of being involved in this global movement. For them to begin to learn that they have a voice and can make a difference. Of course if you are looking at different aspects of the theme (The energy conservation theme most commonly associated with Earth Hour is associated with reusing, repairing and recycling as well as reducing) - different children will learn different aspects along the way, and if you can get parents involved then they will be re-enforcing and contributing in their own right. http://earthhour.wwf.org.uk/

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“When is the best time to plant a tree?”
The answer: “Twenty years ago.
The second-best time? Today.”
Old Proverb

Plant a tree in your pre-school garden.

The Woodland Trust provide starter kits and a free tree to plant in your pre-school gardens. For further information, please visit:


Earth day - making a contribution.

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I have just put together some draft advice of how you can calculate your preschool Carbon footprint - if anyone has the time or inclination to test it in practice and/or offer further suggestions it would be appreciated:

Estimating your preschool’s carbon footprint


Your carbon footprint can be used to set a baseline from which your collective efforts to make improvements can be measured. It may also be sobering to compare your footprint with other preschools. A typical rural Kenya preschool has a carbon footprint of about 3Kg per child.

Collect together all the below information and then log onto the Carbon Calculator website to calculate your preschool’s carbon footprint.

Below is a list of all the information you will be asked to input:

Leave the first four drop down options at the default values ‘Average’

Building or process energy values

- Enter the total electricity consumed a year (from electricity bills)

- Enter the total gas consumed a year (from gas bills)

- Enter any other Energy source that you have

Transport Energy Values

Carry out the following survey with staff and parents and then calculate a total figure for the preschool:

· If you drive you or your child to the preschool by car approximately how much fuel do you use in a year: Petrol = Diesel = Auto LPG =

· If you or your child travels in another car or taxi approximately how many miles does this amount to in a year =

· If you or your child travels to the preschool in a local bus how many miles does this amount to in a year =

· If you or your child travels to the preschool in a train, tram, coach, or tube approximately how many miles does this amount to in a year =

Extra Data:

What is the approximate floor area of your school in m2?

Note: Although this calculator refers to ‘employees’ the total number of children and staff may be entered to obtain a preschool carbon footprint per person as well as a total figure.

The final calculation provides the total annual carbon emissions in kilograms of carbon.

When you have made the calculations you might think about:

· Do you encourage parents to walk their child and/or car sharing?

· Do you encourage staff to walk or cycle to the preschool?

· Are your school heating pipes insulated?

· Does your school building have roof insulation?

· Do you have double or triple glazing?

· Do you have low energy lights?

· Are there presence detectors on the lights installed in parts of the school?

· Does your school have photovoltaics (solar electric)?

· Does your school have solar thermal?

· Does your school have biomass (wood) heating?

· Does your school have a ground-source heat pump?

· Does your school have a wind turbine?

· Does your school have an air-source heat pump?

· How is the school heating provided? (Gas / Oil / Coal / Electricity/ Biomass (wood)

The Fair Earth Share is the maximum amount of CO2 that scientists have calculated each person can emit before it becomes unsustainable for our planet. It’s around 2,500 Kg per person (per year) so a lot less than the current 10,000 Kgs per person that we are currently producing. If we consider the emissions resulting from the time spent at school as about 10% of this figure then a Fair Earth Share would be 250 Kg. How is your preschool contributing?DRAFTcarbon footprint.docx

Edited by JohnSB
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