Environmental education to be included in pre-primary schools

Tehran Times – Environmental education will be included in the country’s pre-primary schools’ curriculum in the new school year (beginning September 23) to prepare children for environment protection.

In Iran, pre-primary school is a 1-year education process for children aged 5 to 6 years to be prepared before entering elementary schools. It has been made compulsory over the past few years.

Environmental education aiming to make the students committed and informed of the environmental values in early ages has become a great challenge for the Iranian schools’ curriculum, so that educational materials on environment protection have been included in 11th grade curriculum since 2017, which turned out mostly inefficient.

Early childhood is a time when skills are well acquired, not the age of 16 when all the cognitive and behavioral characteristic of the child is already formed; making changes to what has been formed before is not easy at all.

While these educational materials on environment protection are entering the pre-primary schools to be acquired at earlier childhood ages to make favorable cognitive and behavioral changes in the students, ISNA quoted Reza Shayesteh, , an official with Tehran department of environment, as saying on Wednesday.

“The first step we have taken in this regard was preparing an educational package for the teachers and trainers, through which they will be able to teach environmental education to children in a comprehensible way,” he explained.

The book, which is entitled “human and environment” and comprises 7 lessons focusing on the importance of water, soil, air, energy, waste, biodiversity and environment, will also be taught in pre-primary school, he noted.

He went on to say that environmental experts attend schools on important environmental occasions such as World Environment Day, adding, these experts familiarize the students with environmental concepts by holding competitions and offering various prizes.

The students are trained to protect environment and natural resources and employ them in their very life; so only textbooks cannot contribute much to this end, he lamented, adding, therefore, educational materials must be taught in different methods in universities as well as all school grades.

He further called on the citizens to participate defending the environment and cooperate to preserve the natural resources.

One of the main concerns for every nation is the environment and the interaction between the people and their surrounding environment; for the life of human as well as all other animals depends on the environment. Yet, in the past two centuries with the apparent great advances, human beings have caused damages to the environment consciously or unconsciously, and Iran is no exception.

In spite of the fact that Iran is dealing with 4 major environmental issues, including water scarcity, soil erosion, air pollution and endangered biodiversity, neither of the responsible officials, nor the public have the necessary knowledge to find proper solutions for containing the issues, thus their poor natural resource management along with not being committed has exacerbated the country’s environmental issues.

So, one way to contain environmental issues in the country is training the people not to hurt the environment and wildlife while making them aware of the values, but this will be achieved through education processes from early childhood.

But, for environment to be an all-encompassing concern for the public, it should be based on the educational materials and school curriculum at different grades of education which in turn requires proper programming, fine materials and curriculum, providing textbooks in line with its objectives, and well-trained and informed teachers capable of perceiving the concepts and making them comprehensible for the students to consider environment safeguarding not only as a material, but a human responsibility.