On 10 April 2019, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) teamed up to bring International Mother Earth Day to the youngsters of Pandora Pre-Primary School in Khomasdal, Windhoek.
In honour of Earth Day, a special visit was paid to Pandora Pre-Primary School to spark the children’s fascination about planet Earth, gardening, and appreciating our environment. The children shared their excitement with well-known songs and nursery rhymes. It was a great way to help the children to settle and feel comfortable to participate in the interactive presentation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 13, 14 and 15.
It does not take much to turn children into natural environmentalists. With minimum efforts and conversations, we taught the youngsters to appreciate butterflies and flowers and why we can’t just leave our trash on the ground. The children enthusiastically considered the things the Earth gives us. They thought about different sources of water and their favourite plants and animals, and mentioned these to the team through the interactive engagement.
Along with their ideas and enthusiasm, the preschoolers were also confronted with the world’s environmental challenges. The presentation summarized the links between pollution, deforestation and breathing air as a natural health effect for all. Climate change is a global challenge that has no borders and all of us (including children) are mentioned in climate change discussions to combat it.
The outdoor activity was the best way for the children to learn by doing, understanding the relevancy of what they are doing in the garden, and how what they are learning in the classroom can be put to use in their real lives. Just knowing that they have planted something, tended to it and watched it grow and ripen innocently, allows them to form a relationship with nature and science.
The ideal introductory gardening experience also provided the children with hands-on learning, inquiry, observation, experimentation and when edible plants are used, children are more motivated to taste, eat, and enjoy fruits and vegetables. The small garden is a wonderful way for the school to grow their own veggies (as they provide meals to the youngsters), thus also contributing toward food security and self sufficiency.
Educational materials to enhance teacher-children learning about the SDGs and climate change were handed to the school.