“It seems to me that almost everything is a waste of time,” he remarked one day as he walked dejectedly home from school. “I can’t see the point in learning to solve useless problems, or subtracting turnips from turnips, or knowing where Ethiopia is or how to spell February.” And, since no one bothered to explain otherwise, he regarded the process of seeking knowledge as the greatest waste of time of all.
My brother, an accomplished teacher, gave me a book called ‘The Phantom Tollbooth’ by Norton Juster. The quote above is pulled from the first page. The character Milo, doesn’t understand why he should have to learn because no one ever took the time to explain why it should be important to him. How many of us remember sitting in math class saying “when am I ever going to use this?”
As parents and teachers, the responsibility is not only to give children the opportunity to participate and learn but to understand why we learn, why it is important and how it connects to their very own lives. A science lesson on water for example could be a simple experiment in class OR it could be a walk down to the river to observe, experiments with the sink, bath or teeth brushing time. It could be an art lesson, a language lesson a history lesson all tied back to the importance of clean water.
In honor of Earth Day, I pulled together some ‘why is this important to you’ facts to share with your children. Instead of just celebrating one day a year, perhaps this will pique their interest to become good stewards of the environment everyday.
Three Fun Facts to Share with your Preschooler
- Plastic – Encourage kids to find a re-usable water bottle they really love. They can fill it with filtered water. A Brita filter, for example, could replace close to 300 bottles of water. Take your child to the super market and show them what 300 bottles looks like! When they do use bottled water, make it their task to bring bottles to the recycle bin. Please note: re-usable water bottles must be thoroughly washed after use and before being refilled especially during warm weather.
- Water – Encourage children to turn off the water when they brush their teeth. One evening, take a clean, empty milk gallon. Ask kids how much water they think is wasted when the faucet is on then do a test. Leave the gallon under the faucet, with the water on and let them brush their teeth. Put the water in the refrigerator and do an experiment to see how long it takes them to finish the ‘wasted’ water.
- Recycle – TV time! In some studies, the energy saved recycling one aluminum can could power a TV for 3 hours. Make a ‘reduce your carbon footprint’ chart. For each item recycled add a little to their reading under a light time, their TV bank or other favorite activities. For example – 1 can = 4 hours. If your child gets 30 minutes of TV a day a can would be good for 8 days of television. Here are a few more examples thanks to the EPA website:
1.) Put one aluminum can in the recycling bin, and save enough energy to power your television for three hours.
2.) Need to run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours? Recycling one glass container will do it.
3.) Recycling one pound of #1 plastic saves enough energy to power a 13-watt CFL bulb left on continuously for a month and a half.
4.) For each pound of paper you recycle, you save enough energy to run your insanely power-hungry Xbox360 for nearly a full day. Note the average household goes through about 7 pounds of paper a week (largely via their snail mail).
Tip for parents: A 13w cfl gives light equivalent to a 40 – 60 w incandescent bulb and lasts 8 – 15 times as long. A good source of info on cfl’s for those interested in more details is at the following url. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_fluorescent_lamp
Happy Earth Day to you and your children! Let’s celebrate our beautiful earth everyday!