Earthcare for Children,
a First Day School Curriculum
By: Sandra Moon Farley, Diana Gail Egly, and Thomas Baxter Farley
Published by Quaker Earthcare Witness [formerly FCUN] Spring, 2007
ISBN-10 1-881083-12-8, ISBN-13 978-1-881083-12-2, spiral bound, 8.5 X 11, 110 pages, $15.00 US.
Earthcare for Children emphasizes the spiritual basis of environmental awareness and action in a series of lessons for use in the religious education of children from kindergarten through sixth grade. Over one hundred activities are included along with suggestions of quotations, Bible passages, stories, and songs to enhance each of the thirteen chapters. Developed by members of Palo Alto Friends Meeting for use in Friends Meetings and Churches and Quaker Schools, the lessons are easily adaptable for use by other denominations that recognize a spiritual basis for environmental concerns. Many of the individual activities could also be modified for public school classrooms and outdoor education programs.
Each of the thirteen chapters is organized by:
- Opening, songs, Scripture, other readings, related activity for a larger or multi-grade group
- Small Group Activities, from seven to fifteen per chapter to select from, usually enough to divide into two or three lesons
- Closing, ways to close the lesson for a group or bring subgroups together for closure
- Take Home Pages, two or three reproducable pages of pencil and paper work or discussion ideas to be shared with families
The purposes of the chapters are:
- Appreciating the Beauty of Creation
- To sense God's presence in the natural world
- To marvel at the beauty and complexity of the Earth
- To encourage observation
- To promote a sense of comfort with being a part of nature
- We Have No Home But Earth
- To present the point of view that we are joint tenants of God's creation, along with the plants and animals
- To relate and promote love of home and love of the Earth
- To associate "Mother Earth" or "Mother Nature" with good family relationships
- To apply observation and discernment skills
- To accept responsibility for Earthcare globally as well as locally
- Earth Is Dirty and Alive
- To notice the abundance of life on Earth, especially in unlikely places.
- To show the wonders of the soil
- To introduce the concept that the amount of life in a place can be increased, decreased, or can even be destroyed.
- To experience that dirt is not "unclean" or "ungodly"
- Diversity: the Seeds of Life
- To assert the value of diversity in the seed gene pool.
- To recognize the possible dangers of farming with hybrids or single strains of plants and animals
- To promote the positive value of variety in all life
- To recognize how peoples' understanding of God may be expressed in a variety of ways.
- To develop an appreciation of seeds as symbolic of God's gift of life
- We Circle the Sun
- To share an appreciation of the light and warmth that the Earth from the Sun
- To affirm humanity's place in the cyclical nature of life on this planet
- To become informed about ozone depletion and the effects of increased ultra-violet [UV] radiation
- To see how plants and animals respond to light
- To reflect [pun intended] on the metaphorical use of Light and Dark in Quaker practice
- Water, Water Everywhere
- To show the value of water
- To show the dangers of pollution and the importance of preventing water poisoning
- To learn ways to keep water available to meet the needs of plants, animals, and people
- To recognize the significance of water and water sources, and of water ceremonies in our culture and others
- The Air We Breathe
- To become more alert to the global nature of air quality issues, particularly to the accumulation of methane and CO2.
- To encourage support for open space preservation.
- To assert the value of all plants, and trees in particular, to the air cycle.
- To recognize the mythic connection of air and breath with movement of the Holy Spirit.
- Interrelatedness: the Web of Life
- To see the vast variety in the world as a reflection of God's power, seeing value in the splendid diversity
- To identify with individual plants and animals
- To become aware of the interdependence of all life
- To develop an attitude of brotherhood/sisterhood with all life
- Carrying Capacity: Is Earth Full?
- To develop awareness that the Earth has limited capacity to support life
- To become informed about ways in which the capacity to support life is reduced or expanded
- To explore what may happen when plant or animal populations get out of proportion with available habitat
- To promote the desire to nurture and protect life on Earth
- To recognize our responsibility to God for the changes we make in our environment
- How to Care
- To seek ways to prevent injuries or illnesses among both wild and domestic animals
- To care for the plants that need cultivation
- To show our concern for wilderness areas and fragile ecosystems
- To consider career opportunities in work helping plants and animals
- To view care and nurturing as appropriate activities for everyone, regardless of age, gender, or family role
- Taking Responsibility
- To consider our role as stewards who act responsibly toward the Earth and all its people, creatures, and plants
- To see stewardship or caretaking as an aspect of interrelatedness
- To see how stewardship decisions may be very difficult
- To see how easy it is to mess things up and how hard it is to correct mistakes
- Working with Others
- To find ways to walk gently over the Earth speaking to that of God in everyone and responding to that of God in everything
- To encourage ourselves and others to live simply
- To praise and reward those who act in caring ways toward the Earth
- To remind ourselves of the many ways we can have a positive effect on the environment
- To share our discoveries with Friends, families, and community
- Field Trips
- To explore a natural environment
- To become more aware of human impact
- To look for examples relating to our studies of life cycles, carrying capacity, genetic diversity, pollution, restoration, caretaking, kinship, fragile things, and beauty
- To discover a sense of the Divine in outdoor settings
- To give service or make a positive difference
Copies of Earthcare for Children may be ordered for $15.00 plus $3.50 postage and handling from Quaker Earthcare Witness
173-B N. Prospect Street
Burlington, VT 05401-1607
or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
It is also available through
Earthcare for Friends, a Study Guide for Individuals and Faith Communities, edited by Louis Cox, Ingrid Fabianson, Sandra Moon Farley, and Ruah Swennerfelt, is a curriculum for teen and adult programs following a similar format.
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