Instilling an Environmental Ethic

In between the fun of bird bingo and the bubble extravaganza, Green School Coordinator Barbara Bromley tried to convey a deeper message during Take A Child Outside Week.

“The goal is to instill an individual and institutional environmental ethic,” she said.

“The Green Initiative at LCDS is about raising kids’ awareness of environmental issues and ensuring they know that there are actions they can take, that there’s something they can do to change it,” said Bromley, who implemented Take A Child Outside Week at Country Day. “And while it’s true that the things they can do as individuals may be small in the sense of global climatic impact, their actions are still significant with respect to leading by example and raising awareness and helping start a movement.”

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Awareness-raising is always easier with a little fun mixed in though.

Intrepid preschool explorers set off on scavenger hunts hand-in-hand with Upper School buddies. Rob Trubiano’s students brought their curriculum into the real world, using Fibonacci numbers and pine cones and pineapples to see the intersection of mathematics and nature. And sharp-eared sixth graders listened to a score of avian calls to fill their cards and claim ultimate victory in bird bingo.

Bromley said, “I couldn’t do this without the many parents who volunteer and the teachers who supported it by taking their students outside.”

“One of the aims of Take A Child Outside Week is community-building,” Bromley said. “The Lower School kids especially look forward to the week, and if they and their parents can find joy outside and learning through art, then we’re doing something right.”

Perhaps the best example of community building during the week is the All-School Picnic, when everyone is outside and students from all divisions eat lunch and play games together.

“Studying climate change is depressing,” Bromley continued. “TACO is one way to learn about the environment while accentuating the positive. But regardless of how we present it, we have to teach students about the environment or else we’re doing them, us and the planet a disservice.

“We’re ahead of the game here at Country Day because our parents are aware and educating their children, so the fundamentals are there. We have to have kids love nature so they’ll take care of it. That’s what Take A Child Outside Week is all about,” Bromley said.