More than 95% of primary school teachers would like to be able to deliver more practical lessons about nature and the environment for their classes, a workshop organised by BirdLife Malta for teachers participating in the Dinja Waħda environmental schools programme found.
52 head teachers, assistant heads and class teachers from primary schools around Malta attended the workshops, held at Siġġiewi Primary School, Mqabba Primary School and Bahrija Primary School with Dinja Waħda coordinators last week.
BirdLife Malta Education Manager, Hannah Chisholm said, “This is the first time that teachers from so many different Dinja Waħda schools have come together to discuss the programme and environmental education in schools in general, and there was almost unanimous agreement amongst the teachers that more environmental field trips and hands on projects would benefit school children.”
Many teachers felt that school children, especially those from urban areas, have very limited opportunities to experience nature first hand. One teacher said, “Pupils need to appreciate nature, but how can they appreciate if they don’t experience it. Videos, pictures and activities in school will help students become aware of major issues concerning the environment but I think they are not enough.”
They also felt that spending time in the countryside and engaging in practical activities about nature and conservation helped children to understand the environment better and develop a sense of responsibility for looking after it.
“Maltese natural environment in particular is decreasing in area due to a number of factors,” said one teacher who attended the workshops, “Children should also be educated on how to conserve nature and the natural environment.”
Dinja Waħda provides teachers with structured classroom and outdoor/field activities to teach children about the natural environment within this framework of the school curriculum, reaching more than 90 per cent of primary schools in Malta and Gozo, but there are hopes that the programme will continue to expand in the coming years, as understanding and protection of nature and the environment become more and more prominent issues for all of us and for future generations.
“In the last year Dinja Waħda has been offered on a limited scale to both secondary schools and kinder schools, with a view to extending the programme to cover the breadth of children’s time in education,” said Ms Chisholm, “and extra-curricular activities for kids outside of schools are also becoming more and more important in engaging and teaching the younger generation about nature.”
BirdLife Malta’s club for young members is called Klabb Ħuttaf. As well as getting a regular magazine (in Maltese) full of fun and interesting information and stories about nature and wildlife, there are all sorts of outdoor nature activities and visits organized for members.
Schools, teachers or parents interested in finding out more about the Dinja Waħda programme should have a look at the Dinja Waħda pages on the BirdLife Malta website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Klabb Ħuttaf activities and to join, visit our Klabb Ħuttaf pages or email email@example.com.