Love for nature is also taught and learned. And it is very important that, from an early age, we stimulate children's love for nature so that they learn to love and appreciate the natural world and to act in accordance with these feelings, contributing to its care and preservation.
Let’s take the case of one of our own Makers, Rosa Montenegro from Joyería Frutal. As a little girl, Rosa used to go on long walks with her grandmother and, along the way, her grandmother picked up all sorts of fruits and leaves. She learned the basics of dyeing all sorts of items (from fabric to other fruit) and became acquainted with which fruits and herbs make great dyes.
Rosa’s periodic walks with her grandmother were incredibly helpful later in life. When a back injury began to challenge her current way of living, she turned to the knowledge that had been passed onto her. And knowing everything she did regarding herbs and dyes helped her create a new business. Today, making and selling Costa Rica jewelry employs 11 people.
If you’d like more on Rosa’s story, you can view her full video on Local Keep’s website.
We picked up some tips from the World Association of Early Childhood Educators so that children can learn to love the environment.
Familiarize the child with the natural things around the house: plants, birds, insects, trees, flowers, etc. in a natural environment close to the home. While teaching your kid about the benefits, you can make the child aware of the environmental issues with regard to the pollution of their immediate surroundings: noise, fumes, smells, dirt from the streets and water.
Try to make the child aware of the park as a pleasant place to enjoy and where plants, animals, trees, etc. live together. This is also related to providing your child with experiences through which he can understand the transformation of nature by the influence of climate changes and natural phenomena such as rain or drought, cold-heat, etc.
Encouraging affection for nature also means alerting people to the precautions to be taken to avoid some potentially dangerous animals such as wasps, spiders or other animal stings. Do not encourage fear, it is a matter of knowing and loving nature, without running risks.
By taking periodic walks to the park, you can learn new things about nature.
Notice that, in the case of the previous activities, you don’t require a huge garden or a house located up in the mountains. Creating a healthy relationship with the environment means, also, working with the surroundings you live in. However, if the apartment you live in deems insufficient, you can also schedule periodical trips to the park.
Go Step by Step
Help your child to get to know the plants and flowers: their external parts, the care they need, what they provide, the classes and names, etc. Let him discover how they are born and grow, that they need to breathe and feed themselves to grow like us, etc. You can also encourage the child to plant seeds and take care of the plant's growth by checking the need for sunlight and water, so that it grows.
Bring your child closer to the animal world. Let him or her know and understand the way of life, the needs, the care that we should have with birds, dogs, cats, ants, snails, etc. and how to love and respect them.
NoMeLlamo's products are perfect for those who love Costa Rica's fauna.
Focus on Those Who Protect the Environment
Value the work of the people who take care of the city: garbage men, sweepers, gardeners, etc., and reflect with your child on what would happen if these professions did not exist. Part of learning to take care of the environment is to appreciate the work of those people who actively work in protecting it.
This point is particularly important. An environmental education should be understood as education in values and coexistence. A child will take care of the environment if she takes care of herself and others. It is difficult to respect the environment if one does not respect oneself and others.
Some Things to Do With Kids
At least once a year, visit museums of natural sciences with your children. It is not an excuse to make this visit with the school, you must also do it accompanied by your parents. When you get home, comment on what you have seen, have your child share his or her impressions and draw pictures of what has impressed him or her most.
You can also watch documentaries and TV programs about nature and natural phenomena (animals, plants, volcanoes, hurricanes). The same applies with books, films, theater or any type of fun cultural activity. Local Keeps, for instance, has a wide assortment of child books that can help strengthen this important bond.
A naughty monkey with a camera makes for a great story.
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