Sunday, 24 March 2013

Help stop this lunacy

David North, Head of People and Wildlife

You would think that the basics of a good education for young children would centre on teaching how to care for yourself, how to care for others and how to care for your environment. 

Photo by Emma Bradshaw
Unfortunately Michael Gove thinks differently and is in the process of removing all references from the new English curriculum for children to be taught ‘to care for the environment’ or ‘ways in which living things and the environment need protection.’

What madness! At a time when it’s becoming more and more apparent how disconnected children are from the natural world and how this lack of connection is damaging both to children and to nature this change to the curriculum is insane. More than ever in human history we need the next generation to grow up connected to and caring for the natural environment both globally and locally. We need these children to grow up knowing more, caring more and living in a more sustainable way if nature and biodiversity are to have a future. If we don’t have a curriculum that inspires these attitudes then what hope that our future politicians and policy makers will make any less of a mess of putting our environment first than the present lot?

Without education of children today that encourages both contact with and caring for the natural environment then conservation has no long-term future. We need more of this not less. More opportunities for children now at school to get outside and learn about why wild places and wildlife matters. More opportunities to learn how we depend on natural ecosystems for our life support system? More opportunities to spend time in nature and gain the well-being and health benefits that time spent in wild places can bring. Despite these now well-recognised benefits to our children research shows that children today spend less time playing outdoors, have less knowledge and first-hand experience of nature than any generation in human history.

It's time to wake Michael Gove up to the crucial importance of more not less education that will help our children care about nature and the environment. If you, like me, feel strongly about this there is still time to reverse these proposals. Please make yourfeelings known by completing the Education Department’s consultation.

Or write to your MP or to Michael Gove MP at the House of Commons.

P.S. Below are some comments from well known naturalist and wildlife film-maker Simon King:

President of The Wildlife Trusts, Simon King OBE, today presses The Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove MP, to:

  • Reinstate teaching about protecting the natural environment into the curriculum
  • Introduce more education about the natural environment in schools
Simon King I can hardly believe that anyone would want to make changes to the curriculum that could lead to large-scale human suffering and damage the rest of life on earth. Yet Michael Gove proposes to stop teaching children to care for the environment. 

“A younger generation equipped to understand and tackle the massive environmental problems we have left them is our only hope for the future. We urge Mr Gove to drop these ill-considered and dangerous proposals, to introduce more education about the natural environment in schools and do some intensive training in ecology with his local Wildlife Trust.”

1 comment:

  1. This is a dreadful proposal. I have visited several local schools which have strong emphasis on enabling children to learn about their amazing natural world and have seen the joy on their faces as they sit on logs, weave hazel, play with feathers, peep into nests, learn the songs of birds, pick up worms and snails and splash about in mud. Teachers have told me that children who have problems in the classroom often respond positively as soon as they go outside. All children MUST experience the natural world and learn the vital lessons about conservation if they are to inherit a world fit to live in.
    John Snape