A Growing HEART for the Planet

Earth Month is celebrated during the month of April each year to raise awareness about the environment and the need to protect our planet. During this month, people in schools, businesses, and community organizations participate in activities and events that promote sustainability, conservation, and environmental awareness.

Check out Earth Day to learn more about events, initiatives and organizations working to protect the environment.

Earth Month provides an opportunity for students to develop social and emotional competencies related to environmental stewardship, and to contribute to a more sustainable future. 

Let’s look at the HEART in Mind model and how each skill is involved in developing a greater appreciation for our environment and a desire to take action to protect our planet.

Honor Your Emotions: Earth Month provides an opportunity to explore and recognize the emotions that arise when learning about environmental issues, such as sadness, anger, or hope. By honoring and processing these emotions, individuals can develop a deeper understanding of their relationship with the environment.

In the classroom–Create space for students to reflect on their emotional responses to environmental issues, such as climate change, deforestation, or pollution and validate these experiences. Provide time for students to express their emotions through creative activities, such as drawing or writing about their feelings towards the natural world.

Elect Your Responses: During Earth Month, individuals can consider how to respond to environmental issues and the consequences of daily choices, including what can happen if we don’t do anything. By making conscious choices about how to engage with the environment, students can develop agency and a sense of empowerment.

In the classroom–Have students research and present on different environmental issues and possible solutions, encouraging them to consider their own actions and choices. Brainstorm actions that students can take to reduce their environmental impact, such as reducing waste, conserving energy, or using public transportation. Have students commit to taking at least one action and track their progress.

Apply Empathy: Earth Month encourages individuals to apply empathy towards the natural world and to recognize the interdependence between humans and the environment. By developing empathy for the environment, individuals can nurture a greater sense of responsibility towards protecting it.

In the classroom–Encourage students to explore the perspectives of different stakeholders in environmental issues, such as local communities, wildlife, or future generations. Have students write from the perspective of a plant or animal, describing their experiences of environmental change and their needs for survival.

Reignite Your Relationships: Outdoor activities, gardening, or environmental volunteering can help students to strengthen their relationships and practice social skills. When we engage with the environment in meaningful ways, we deepen our connection to the planet and foster a sense of stewardship.

In the classroom–Plan outdoor activities that allow students to connect with the natural world, such as nature walks, gardening, or birdwatching. Invite local environmental organizations to give talks or workshops to the class, providing opportunities for students to engage with the community.

Transform with Purpose: By participating in Earth Month activities and taking action towards environmental stewardship, students can develop a sense of purpose and help transform their communities. By working towards a shared purpose of protecting the environment, individuals can develop a sense of collective efficacy and contribute to a more sustainable future.

In the classroom–Have students create an environmental action plan for the school or community, identifying specific goals and actions to achieve them. Encourage students to think about the long-term impact of their actions and to consider their role as responsible citizens and stewards of the environment.

Do you want more activities to incorporate this model in your classroom? Make sure you grab a copy of Teaching with the HEART in Mind

Celebrating Earth Month means taking time to focus on environmental issues and taking action to protect our communities and planet. When we do this work in schools, we are also helping students to strengthen their HEART skills and develop a greater appreciation for the natural world and the need to protect it.

May we make a positive impact on the planet and ensure a better future for generations to come.

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