“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”.
Pope Francis has written a letter addressed to every person on this planet, asking us all to protect our common home, the earth. In his encyclical, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis speaks openly about the devastating effects of the ecological crisis has on people and the planet. Pope Francis highlights the important role that education plays in caring for the earth, our ‘common home’.
There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions, and it is wonderful how education can bring about real changes in lifestyle. Education in environmental responsibility can encourage ways of acting which directly and significantly affect the world around us, such as avoiding the use of plastic and paper, reducing water consumption, separating refuse, cooking only what can reasonably be consumed, showing care for other living beings, using public transport or car-pooling, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights, or any number of other practices. (211)
At St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School our schoolyard, our outdoor spaces and classrooms play an important role in nurturing core ecological values. Environmental education is particularly vital, as it shapes how our younger generation care for our common home.
CAFOD - Eyes of the World Campaign
We have all engaged with the CAFOD Campaign ‘Eyes of the World’, the aim of which was to raise awareness of climate change and how it has the greatest impact upon the most vulnerable people around our world. Our whole school focused on how we can, as individuals, help to reduce the damage being done. We learnt about COP26 and how the leaders are having important talks about how each nation can help with the climate crisis. We all took part in creating some work to help support the message that we are all watching with keen eyes. Here are some examples of what we are looking out for as we take on the role of the 'eyes of the world'
Community Art Installation 'Our Natural World'
Our whole school Community Art Installation was a fantastic success! This could not have been possible without the support of Cumbria Rivers Trust, local artist Paul Summerfield and our staff; Mrs Jewell, Mr Reid and Mrs Lewthwaite. The project focused on the four elements; Earth, Water, Air and Fire and on these themes we commissioned a huge variety of art that was then placed in and around our community. Our aim was to celebrate our natural world, making links to the upcoming Season of Creation. We knew how much our community would support and enjoy our work and want to be a part of this celebration, so we produced a map of the local area showing where to find our work. The idea being that families could come together, walking, chatting while spending some time on our 'local art trail', enjoying our work and the beautiful countryside that we are so very blessed to live in.
All of the children at St Patrick's are given the opportunity to experience Forest School sessions, there are many benefits to the children; some of which include
- Achieve personal and social development.
- Learning about the natural environment.
- Learning problem-solving skills.
- Building positive relationships.
- Improving communication skills.
- Encourages emotional wellbeing.
- Improves the capacity of learning.
- Encourages children to have a positive impact on the environment and to respect and care for the natural world.
Cumbria Rivers Trust
Every year our children take part in a workshop ran by the Cumbria Rivers Trust. The children learn important lessons about what makes a healthy river system and the part we can play in taking care of these amazing ecosystems as well as raising their environmental awareness. Whilst there, they take part in activities such as river dipping, investigating freshwater wildlife, exploring how these can act as pollution indicators, sketch mapping which focuses on aspects of the landscape which will be good and bad for rivers, and photo taking. We all learn so much about to take care of our fabulous area and get to spend quality time appreciating God's gifts to us.
We are a recycling school each class has it's own set of recycling bins and the labels on these were designed by our own children. The school council arranged a 'Recycling' focused competition and the winning designs are now proudly displayed in each classroom.
"the Earth, our home, seems to turn more and more into a huge garbage dump" Pope Francis Laudato Si