Ken Robinson has just shared a talk he has given about the impact of Covid-19 and in it he shares his belief that rather than focussing on outputs, successful schools focus on culture in the same way that sustainable farmers focus on the soil.
"If you get the culture right everything else takes care of itself. That really means a culture of compassion, of collaboration, of empathy, of the valuing of individuals and of the necessity of our social lives thriving through our joint participation".
Children learn not only through us teaching them about the culture we work towards creating and the meaning of our values we hold dear, but by witnessing us as teachers, parents and as a community, putting ambitions into action and living by our values each day.
This week, we wanted to share a couple of ideas for projects that we could all do at home that encourage actions that care for others and the world around us. There are ideas for all ages and maybe you too have some ideas that will inspire us over the weeks to come.
Flowers for neighbours or letters for grandparents
So often, the letters that drop through our letter box are bills that make our hearts sink rather than fill us with the joy that a note from a loved one brings. With grandparents in isolation, receiving a drawing or letter from their grandchild can be a magical experience! Why not take the time each week to send a letter to someone you love.
As flowers come into bloom in our gardens or we see so many beautiful wildflowers on our walks, why not gather a few for a neighbour and leave them on their doorstep. They look so pretty with just a simple ribbon to gather them!
The Gratitude Game
When you sit down together as a family for one of your daily meals, take a few minutes to take it in turns to name one thing that you have enjoyed about the day. It is lovely to jot these things down and pop them in a jar which you can open at the end of the year and be reminded of all your happy memories.
Making Positive Changes for the Future
For many this time hasn't been easy. But like most things in life, there are things we learn even from the biggest challenges. This project encourages us to note these down as a family so that they become healthy habits that we can carry into our 'new normal' - making it a positive phrase that we begin to look forward to with joy.
Spend some time taking it in turn to note down things that you have enjoyed:
Spending more time together
Your daily walk (don't forget to observe things for your nature journal on these walks)
Doing the daily household tasks together as a family
Reading more books
Watching the birds in the garden
Picking wildflowers for your house on your daily walk
Having time to make a nature table for your house (see blog HERE)
Create a family picture that includes all these things and put it somewhere visible as a reminder to slow down and make time for these these things that matter to you as a family.
Reducing our footprint:
As children get older, they enjoy finding ways that they can make a positive difference to the world. This project is about finding ways that we can make small but significant changes at home. It is important to remember that we always encourage children to make changes out of a love for the world rather than a fear of what might happen if we don't.
Create an Action Plan for Change:
Choose an area that you would like to explore and create an Action Plan for change. This could include:
electricity or water usage
You can then research information such the amount of waste you produce, the amount of water per minute used for each shower or the number of miles per gallon used by a family car, and then they conduct home inventories of your family’s usage of these resources for one whole week and think about how this can be reduced.
How much waste does your family throw out each week? Could this be reduced by:
choosing to buy things with less packaging
can some of your waste be used for other purposes (loo roles into seed pots, jam jars into vases?)
Are there things that you can fix rather than throw away?
Note down the impact of making different choices. How much have you reduced your waste?
How much food does your family throw away each week? How could this be reduced?
Could you plan your weeks meals ahead?
Could you make something out of leftovers or food that is past its best?
Electricity and Water Usage:
How can you reduce how much water and electricity you use?
Time the length of your showers
Count the number of times you fill a sink, load the dishwasher or run the washing machine
Write down the number of electrical appliances you use in your house. Most devices have a label listing how many watts they use. You can find this wattage label either on the device (usually on the bottom or back) or in the owner’s manual. Just multiply your appliance’s wattage by the number of hours you use it in a day. This will give you the number of watt-hours consumed each day. You can also note how many lights you have on for how many hours per day and see if you can reduce this.
To help you we have listed the typical wattage levels of everyday devices:
Coffee Maker - 900-1200 watts
Microwave - 750-1100 watts
Toaster - 800-1400 watts
Dishwasher - 1200-2400 watts
Washing machine - 350-500 watts
Dryer -1800-5000 watts
Hair dryer - 1200-1875 watts
Laptop - 50 watts
Computer monitor - 150 watts & Computer tower120 watts
Television 19"-36" - 65-133 watts & Television 53"-61" -170 watts
Vacuum cleaner - 500-1200 watts
Oven - 2000-2200 watts
After measuring your families’ current use of resources, you can set goals for reducing resource use and identify strategies to help achieve these goals.
Older children can communicate these strategies and goals to their families in the form of an informative/explanatory poster.
Measure the reductions you make across the next 4 weeks and let us know how you do!