This week I had a chance to sit in on the weekly assembly at the elementary school. WOW! They were celebrating Earth Day. I thought Earth Day had already come and gone but I think it must have occurred when the kids had a day off so they celebrated it this week. In any case, I was truly moved by the school's dedication to saving the Earth. One of the school's stated goals is to foster responsible world citizens. They are involved in several yayasans (charities) that help out those in need. They also teach the kids to take responsibility for their personal impact on Earth. The assembly had the kind of energy I remember from high school football pep rallies. (Hey I'm from Texas we take our football seriously!) Lots of energy at the assembly.
The youngest members of the school Prep-Receptions and Prep-Juniors (3-4 year olds) performed the "Recycle Hokey Pokey" You have never seen anything as cute as a 3 year old singing "Put your plastic in and recycle all about..." and acting it out with recycle bins on stage. It was darling.
The second graders sang "The Year of the Reef" song they learned while studying the coral reef. They also reported that they had raised enough money with the bake sale to print and distribute 250 eco-coloring books and crayon packs. These books teach sustainable fishing practices that are reef friendly. These were given to children in fishing communities in Bali, Tanjung Lesung, and Surabaya.
We heard an update from the yayasan that works with the school recycling project. The school collects recyclables and sends them onward to a charity that works with street children. The recycling helps to fund the formal education of the street children, they in turn learn to recycle garbage, from papers and plastics to composting organics. The students at Pattimura are aware that the trash they bring in to recycle not only helps the Earth but also helps other children as well. We learned that we had finally received our color coded recycling bins. This will help to separate recyclables before they are sent to the yayasan.
Finally we heard from the student leaders (pretty much like student council) on ideas to help further the recycling efforts at the school. Several classrooms have purchased reusable plates and cups for use in class room parties to eliminate the need for paper and styrofoam plates. They performed skits encouraging the other students to choose reusable materials rather than disposable when possible, for example using a tupperware container instead of plastic sandwich bags
In addition to the assembly I have seen the school make other efforts to back up the claim that they are educating "responsible world citizens." The elementary school has garden plots that the kids use to learn about growing plants. Currently they are planted with rice, a major crop here in Asia. (Check back in a few weeks for the details of a Balinese rice harvest ceremony) The high school performing arts had a concert, instead if paper programs, the program was projected on screens to either side of the stage. Only the seniors for whom this was the final concert received a hard copy as a souvenir.
What is my point with this long rambling post? Is it that expensive private schools overseas that are largely left out of the testing craze have more freedom than public schools in the states? Sure partially but my main point is the children are the future and if we don't teach them then the future is lost. Is all this fuss at school effective? Oh Yeah! I made the mistake of putting the boys popcorn for snack in a plastic sandwich bag instead of a reusable tupperware and boy did I hear about it! Oh My! I won't e doing that again soon. Make sure as you go about your life doing your part to protect beauty in nature, also take the time to tell your kids what you are doing and why! The children are the future!