Calls For Climate Change To Be Taught In Primary Schools

A new curriculum with three R's Reduce; Reuse; Recycle


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Children should be taught about climate change from primary school according to a new think tank.

As the government announces that greenhouse gas emissions in the UK will be cut to almost zero by 2050, a leading education company made up of former school teachers is urging an urgent change in the curriculum.

Currently, teaching climate change is restricted to chemistry and geography in key stages 3 and 4 when children are aged 11-14, but education resources company PlanBee has called for children to be taught the subject from the start of their school careers.

Oli Ryan
Oli Ryan

‘It is the single biggest issue affecting children's futures,’ said PlanBee’s Oli Ryan, a former primary school teacher. ‘It looms over everything else, and we have a responsibility to prepare children from a young age as best we can.’

With this in mind, has developed an entire primary school curriculum focusing on climate change and what children can do about it, including ‘the new Three Rs’: reduce, reuse, recycle.

Mr Ryan said: ‘We owe to children to act now, in every aspect of their lives – and especially in schools.

‘Here at PlanBee, we’ve been scratching our heads for some time, thinking about how we can support primary teachers by creating resources to help address these issues and prepare children for the future. We, like all teachers, want them to grow up to be confident, safe, socially responsible and capable of protecting our fragile planet.’

He said felt that while children shouldn’t be shielded from the problems they will grow to inherit as adults, they shouldn’t be left feeling anxious and helpless about them, either.

The Plan Bee curriculum covers seven key climate change topics:

  • Ethical trading
  • Fulfilled lives
  • Ecosystems
  • Climate change
  • Water scarcity
  • Biodiversity
  • Finite planet

The themes are explored in an age-appropriate fashion, ensuring not only that children can develop a realistic understanding of both the problems they and others inheriting the planet face, but develop a clear idea of what they can do about it.

In this curriculum, the new three 'Rs' are Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Children are tasked with finding ways to reduce waste by working together to reduce what is sent to landfill, both at school and at home.

The lessons also challenge children to take action to help Britain's bee population survive and thrive at school and at home.

In ‘Children know best!’, they generate their own ideas for ways in which they can teach adults to make more eco-friendly decisions in their daily lives.

‘These ideas will help them to make a real difference, to have a positive impact, improving the lives of others around the world and to protect the planet, too,’ said Mr Ryan.

He said that while children, understanding the urgency better than us, are now taking it upon themselves to save the planet, schools owe it to them to prepare them for the future in an uncertain world, and make positive changes.

Oli said: ‘Teaching children about issues directly related to climate change should go hand in hand with learning about ethical trading, and the harm caused by unchecked, rampant consumerism.

‘We have let children down - now they are taking it upon themselves to do something. But, there is still time for us to help them take action on climate change, by providing world-class education on climate change, starting in primary schools.’

12 June 2019


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