childrens' hands holding a seedling.

The following reflection comes from an educator from our Nootka school age program:

The Earth is not a place to throw garbage; it’s a place to live.
—one of the children in our Nootka school-age program

When I first began supervising at Nootka’s Out of School Care program, I noticed that the children had strong feelings concerning nature.

One of the educators was talking to children about trash on the playground. I observed that the children understood that the litter on the playground was a problem, and they wanted to do something about it.

This sense of personal responsibility towards space outside of the school really made me think. It is difficult not to connect what is happening to the world and the state of the environment; weather events and climate change affect the future of children we are educating. It is an unfortunate truth that the impact of our actions have on the natural world is due in part to the lifestyle trends that are still in place. It is fitting then that the action should be sparked by the children that will inherit this planet.

The children at Nootka have initiated playground cleanups on many different occasions.

We facilitate the clean-ups but wanted to go deeper. Through our discussions with the children, we found an interest in creating a “No Littering” sign to remind our friends and ourselves that the space is better when unspoiled by refuse.

With the narrative set, we gave the children that chance to express their views on garbage and litter. Some quotes from them:

“Garbage is pollution”

“There is tons of garbage in each country”

“We will be making signs, Littering is not allowed”

“If I was in government my laws would be no littering and no smoking”

It is inspiring to see the level of concern and awareness the future generation has towards the environment. I feel that these children, by changing the way we view the planet, can be our greatest hope towards saving the planet we live on.