Today’s blog is a guest post from Claire Adams. Claire is a personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success. You can find her online writing and giving tips about lifestyle and development as a regular contributor at highstylife.com. You can find her on twitter here.
The new idea of a successful classroom combines the notions of social connection with fun, engaging learning. Modern classrooms should also be sustainable and strive to inspire learners and staff to take care of our struggling environment. Here are a few amazing ideas that can help you create such a healthy, happy and eco-friendly learning space.
The three Rs
Reuse, reduce and recycle, or the three Rs, have been on everyone’s lips for quite some time now, but only the rare teachers choose to implement them into their classrooms. However, doing so is quite easy and fun and requires only a few small investments and tweaks to our habits. Recycling in the classroom can be quite easy and successful. Teachers can name recycling monitors who will report their findings and nominate the best recyclers and new monitors. Other very easy and practical changes can be made. For instance, the school or the classroom can switch to recycled paper and invest in used furniture and electronics and start textbook exchange programs.
Reducing waste is one of the best ways to make a space more sustainable and eco-friendly. In this age of computers and cloud technology, it can be very easy to minimize or even completely remove waste. A lot of work that is conducted on paper can be moved to computers that produce zero paper- and supply-waste. Another way towards minimizing waste can be achieved through education. For instance, students and teachers can be educated on better paper management. Handouts and tests can be printed on both sides and with smaller margins, and students can learn better ways to write notes and reduce empty space on paper.
A good and sustainable classroom also pays attention to expenses and is financially-savvy. No matter how well-financed the school is, it can always benefit from saving up. Teachers and students can opt for affordable office supplies that will allow the collective to conduct their tasks easily and quickly without wasting too much money. The money the school, teachers, and students save up can later be donated to a local environmental agency or organization. Another great way to reduce school costs is to start a public-private-partnership model. For instance, if a school has a gym or a fitness center, the students can use it during the day, while private clients can use it during after-school hours.
Pick the right furniture
One of the most important parts of every cozy classroom is the furniture. However, not all furniture is created equal! Luckily, today there are many manufacturers and online shops that offer quality and eco-friendly furniture pieces that are comfortable, ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing. Durability and quality should be the ultimate priority. These items last for years and require almost zero maintenance. What’s more, most of these furniture elements can be easily replaced. Kids and adults can be quite destructive, but easy replacement ensures that the pieces don’t end up at the landfill.
Another aspect of good furniture is flexibility. This allows furniture pieces to be used for different lessons and during different activities. For instance, modular furniture can be easily arranged and rearranged as lessons and assignments change.
Sustainability also includes being conscious and cautious about the energy we use in the classroom. This part of becoming eco-friendly is also quite easy to achieve. For instance, the reminders to turn off and unplug devices when not in use can be placed on electronics. Artificial lighting can also be reduced with larger windows and a proper color palette (white is much better at keeping the space bright, even when there’s not a lot of sunlight outside). Good insulation is also crucial for sustainability. Well-insulated walls and energy-efficient windows can reduce the need for air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter. Traditional bulbs can also be replaced with energy-efficient and durable LEDs.
Aside from creating green and sustainable environments, modern classrooms also have to create eco-friendly people. So, make sure to implement information about sustainability, eco-friendliness and the effects of pollution, waste and resource exploitation. All classes can have at least one lesson about green living, especially science.
Making classrooms greener and more sustainable doesn’t have to be hard and expensive. With only a few changes and small investments, we can achieve a lot. With green classrooms, our world will be populated by kids, teenagers and adults who understand the importance of taking care of Mother Earth.