One nursery in the East Midlands has taken a rather more unique approach to teaching children in their setting about climate change.
Instead of picking up their lanyards as part of the global climate strike on Friday 20 September, children at The Old Forge Nursery in Derbyshire took to the outdoors as staff turned off electricity for the day.
It’s the first time the nursery has decided to turn off the power supply but nursery manager, Louise Monange described it as ‘just a start’.
While staff did not to take children to the climate march, they timed their own event at the nursery so it coincided with the global strike.
Ms Monange explained: ‘Striking wasn’t the point for the children, it was about educating them on what climate change is and what they can do to have any kind of impact.
‘This is just the start of the climate change conversation and we are planning to make changes on a regular basis that will have a small impact but more importantly will educate the children on what actions they can take.’
Ms Monange said that pulling the plug on the nursery’s power supply took some planning as they are a technology-based setting. They solved the issue by charging laptops, tablets and cameras the day before, so children could still be put to bed with music.
They also made sure any necessary washing was done ahead of the event and pre-cooked food the day before. As they are a forest setting, they also made use of natural resources and created a fire so that some food could be cooked over the flames (as shown below).
Ms Monange continued: ‘The kids absolutely loved it. The atmosphere in the garden was beautiful, the way the children interacted, the conversations that were taking place. It was really nice.’
The children spent the day playing in the outdoors and engaging in activities relating to the theme of climate change. They designed a small world play area with a sheet of ice used to represent the habitat of penguins and polar bears. Children discussed what would happen when the ice melts and what would happen to the creatures living there.
With the focus on sustainability, children also created bug and bird houses and butterfly feeders.
Despite strong positive feedback from the children, a video by the BBC which covered the nursery turning off its electricity supply has attracted a number of negative comments online.
One person wrote on Facebook: ‘Stop using kids for this cause it’s not right, they are being manipulated by teachers and parents.’
Another said: ‘These little sweeties shouldn't be used to get the message across to their parents (who are the ones who really need it).’
Ms Monange described the comments as ‘upsetting’ and confirmed the event was not about ‘brainwashing’ children, as one person suggested.
She said: ‘It’s not about brainwashing children, it’s about educating them that this is their planet and they can have an impact. The planet belongs to everybody and we have to look after it.’