The ingredients of the curriculum – what goes in and what does not – are being hotly debated at the moment regarding Environmental Education. NAEE is part of this debate, but we need to ensure our advice is ready to roll out, when the Curriculum Reviews are complete.
Here are my thoughts on this debate, I hope it stimulates thought and discussion, and get in touch if you have any comments for us about it.
- What do we mean by ‘environmental education’?
- What should ‘environmental education’ look like?
- How is it similar/different from pure science/geography?
- How do teachers include it in an already-busy timetable?
We aim to produce a series of key ideas and transform these into short pieces, which will then become part of a NAEE Environmental Education Paper policy with exemplars.
NAEE is a key player in promoting Environmental Education (EE) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) to be part of/a major theme within school curriculum.
As executive member and former EE advisor Sue Fenoughty points out:
“This definitely seems to be the moment when we must act, as in this article from the Guardian, it says there are going to be major changes to science studies under the reforms for the national curriculum with the Science curriculum expected to ‘emphasise using the natural habitat around schools – learning biology by studying the growth and development of trees, for example’ – so, in other words, much more emphasis on using the local environment. (environmental education). The article mention that the science curriculum in Japan has at its core the love of nature … and, as we know, you can’t develop a love of nature unless you’ve been out in a natural environment.”
The new programmes of study are being published for consultation this week, and are to be introduced in schools in September 2014, so not far away.
Yes, it’s all ‘up in the air’ and no-one knows where it will end up. And yes, it’s confusing and frustrating in the meantime. But also, yes, NAEE will have some key concrete ideas to present – intelligent responses and exemplars to the questions when they come along.
Henricus Peters, NAEE CoChair