The start of the new school year brings good news for the environment: enactment of the new Education Act (LOMLOE) this includes, among other aspects, teacher training in this area as well as education for sustainable development in the curriculum. However, it won’t be the first time that environmental protection has come into classrooms in Spain. Naturaliza has been three years to train teachers free of charge to know all kinds of tools and methodologies for working with their students on environmental values.
About 1,900 teachers have already participated in this project, which is supported by Ecoembes and serves to verify the evidence: environmental education is not just key to educating citizens who are aware of how to deal with the climate emergency, It also engages and motivates students. For example, with excursions outside the classroom, schoolyards, recycling campaigns or artistic actions to learn about the flora and fauna in their immediate surroundings.
The value of trying in class
As some teachers who attended Naturali’s training explainedIn fact, the key is to turn environmental education into a crossover concept, not an occasional lesson. “It’s about moving from the memorization method to a more experimental one and linking environmental protection to any topic and level,” he says. Lola Naranjo is professor at CEIP Federico Romero in La Solana (Ciudad Real).
In this centre, for example, they transformed the performance of a zarzuela such as ‘La Rosa de Azafrán’ into an opportunity to analyze the poems by Lope de Vega evoking the Manchego landscape on the ground. Another example of crossover is the study of trees featured in the works of the most famous painters in history, or the preparation of students’ Christmas advertisements that focus on local and healthy produce. “And also We have a school garden and we plan field trips. We have a lot of resources out there and we need to lose our fear of leaving the classroom,” says Naranjo.
commitment to the environment
For Pablo José Sánchez Fernández from La Milagrosa School in Oviedo (Asturias) Joining Naturaliza also meant a “before and after”, thanks to all the resources and methodologies it offered. At school, among many other projects, To promote the recycling of not only packaging and paper, but also pens, batteries, glasses, toothbrushes, mobile phones, ‘La Milagrosa se-para por el medioambiente’…
“We also start three volunteer projects to work the week before the holidays in each course. It is clear that you will learn much more with experience. For example, working on environmental math concepts is something that motivates them and is more fun,” says Sánchez.
And if he can be outside the four walls of the classroom, the motivation is even greater. they know it well CEIP Ortega y Gasset in Ceuta, where they supported a green space called Jardín de las Hespérides, 140 square meters and various micro-habitats such as wetland. “It is a nature-open classroom that lets you learn through experience. Not only natural sciences, but also many other subjects such as language, English, plastic arts…” comments one of his supporters, Professor Juan Carlos Navarro.
This project allowed him to verify several aspects: the importance of “renaturalizing schools” and the effectiveness of “removing children from the classroom for meaningful learning”, that the senses have so much weight. “You cannot learn aromatic plants without smelling and touching them. What is learned through experimentation remains”, he concludes. This is exactly what the new law seeks and also means. A step forward in the environmental awareness of the society. Teachers who are ahead of the norm have already marked the way forward.
Naturaliza: building a sustainable future
Thanks to the teachers who participated in the Naturaliza training supported by Ecoembes, approximately 84,000 primary school students from 1,000 schools across the country discussed issues such as air pollution, nature, drought, desertification, climate change, loss of biodiversity… An important information to contribute to building a more sustainable future.
Teachers who want to be part of the Naturaliza network can do so for free via the project’s website (www.naturalizaeducacion.org). This gives them access to a library of over 2,000 resources that they can apply in their classrooms, as well as training, methodology and monitoring by a team of experts.
“With the new LOMLOE, environmental education gains more power in the school curriculum to make students aware of the importance of protecting and caring for the environment around us. We value these steps very positively and make the tools and training offered by Naturaliza available to all teachers with whom we have worked for several years to integrate an environmental perspective into the classroom”, says Raquel Marín, coordinator of Naturaliza.