News / USA

For Children at Maryland School, Earth Day is Every Day

Cereal boxes are reused to make house fences at St. James school in Potomac, Maryland. (Photo: VOA / K. Amkas)
Cereal boxes are reused to make house fences at St. James school in Potomac, Maryland. (Photo: VOA / K. Amkas)
Karlina Amkas
The world celebrates Earth Day every year on April 22. But one private school in the suburban Washington city of Potomac, Maryland, commemorates Earth Day every day. There, children up to six years of age learn about the environment and take action to show their love of the Earth. 

A child's world is the world of playing. They love being outside in the open air, chasing each other, sliding or playing on a seesaw.
 
Worm observation area of classroom at St. James school in Potomac, Maryland. (Photo: VOA / K. Amkas)Worm observation area of classroom at St. James school in Potomac, Maryland. (Photo: VOA / K. Amkas)
x
Worm observation area of classroom at St. James school in Potomac, Maryland. (Photo: VOA / K. Amkas)
Worm observation area of classroom at St. James school in Potomac, Maryland. (Photo: VOA / K. Amkas)
At St. James school in Potomac, Maryland, children between the ages of two and six add to their world full of fun by observing worms and picking up trash in the school yard. Inside their classrooms, they conserve water and electricity, re-use and recycle, and every spring, cultivate soil to plant flowers and vegetables in the school's garden.
 
Rebecca Boker teaches the children the importance of preserving the earth.
 
“If children learn it early on when they are younger, it will become a part of their daily lives," she explained. "Not something that they have to think twice about. It should be something that every one does. That way it becomes an integral part of their daily routines.”

"What happens if the water has chemicals in it?" Boker asked her students.

"Then the plant wouldn’t grow," one child suggested.

"It would die," another child offered.

"It could go down and then go back into the ground," a third child theorized.

"Right, it may grow for a little while," Boker told the children, "but then the plants are going to know that it’s not clean water, just like other plants and animals in our earth need clean water, don’t they?"

Boker said at St. James,  every day is Earth Day. She pointed to books in all the classrooms, and rows and rows of books in the school library. Most of the books contain materials that encourage children to do something to preserve the environment, to protect the Earth.
 
“This is their home," Boker stressed. "You are visitors in their home. So it is your job to respect their home just like you want others to respect your home and treat your home nicely.”

Plant observation area of classroom at St. James school in Potomac, Maryland (Photo: VOA/ K. Amkas)Plant observation area of classroom at St. James school in Potomac, Maryland (Photo: VOA/ K. Amkas)
x
Plant observation area of classroom at St. James school in Potomac, Maryland (Photo: VOA/ K. Amkas)
Plant observation area of classroom at St. James school in Potomac, Maryland (Photo: VOA/ K. Amkas)
At St. James, children are invited to observe the growth of plants from seeds to sprouts in used plastic cups kept in the classroom, then to grow them in the garden. They also observe the life cycle of butterflies and insects, and learn about rain and sea life.

Other materials about nature and its effects on human life are available around the school: a special rain garden, beds of flowers and vegetables, a compost bucket, and worms. In each class, a lot of materials are made from re-using unwanted things or recycling waste. For example, an area rug in the middle of every classroom is made of recycled tires.

“Every day we remind them always … that goes to the recycling," explained Courtney Mollman, another teacher at the school. "And then on Earth Day we do huge garden clean-up, and we’ve been talking to them about what that means.”

There also is a bathroom in every classroom. Mollman explained the important role of these half-baths in directing children to preserve the environment, to familiarize them with conserving water and electricity, and to be smart in using toilet paper.

Reusable bags hang on hooks in the classroom at St. James school in Potomac, Maryland (Photo: VOA / K. Amkas)Reusable bags hang on hooks in the classroom at St. James school in Potomac, Maryland (Photo: VOA / K. Amkas)
x
Reusable bags hang on hooks in the classroom at St. James school in Potomac, Maryland (Photo: VOA / K. Amkas)
Reusable bags hang on hooks in the classroom at St. James school in Potomac, Maryland (Photo: VOA / K. Amkas)
Boker said the children "totally understand" the message they are trying to convey.
Even kids as young as 2, she said, can see that there are blue bins for recycling, or they are not going to break toys, so that they won't end up in a big trash bag.
 
"Imagine how fish feel when they are swimming around and see your trash floating around at the beach? Would that be fun for them?" Boker asked her students.

"It’s gonna block their way," one child offered.

"It also might have chemicals on it. Then what happens?" Boker asked.

"They’ll die," the class responded in unison.

"It’s bad for the Earth," added a student.

Earth Day, observed every year since 1970, is designed to increase awareness of and appreciation for our planet.

You May Like

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs