Sharon Harding was born in England and immigrated to Canada almost 30 years ago. A graduate of Gloucestershire University (B.Ed.), she has been involved in children’s ministry since she was 16. Over the past 12 years she have written for a variety of Christian Education curriculum resources. This article appeared in The Anglican Church of Canada’s recent newsletter.
Earth Day is a global event that focuses attention on local environmental issues around the world. It is a good time to think about our place in God’s creation and consider how we can live in ways that heal, rather than exploit our planet. In the very first chapter of Genesis, God gave us humans the job of caring for creation, charging us with the stewardship of the earth. As Christian Educators it is our responsibility to help the children make the connection between faith, stewardship, and environmental awareness.
There are many ways to do this, but before we start thinking about lessons and projects I believe we need to take a good look at the way we do Sunday school. Do our learning areas and group sessions model environmentally responsible practices? Do we show our care for God’s creation by our choices of activities and the way we use materials? If you haven’t already done so, may I encourage you to conduct an environmental audit of your Sunday school? Look at your learning areas and think about your use of materials. What do they teach the children about environmental stewardship?
Consider the following questions.
- Do you use white or chalk boards instead of writing on newsprint?
- Do you use rubber stamps and inkpads instead of stickers?
- When doing arts and crafts do you encourage (and model) using the least amount of a product to complete the task?
- Use recycled materials wherever possible?
- Avoid using food products?
- Do age groups share resources, so fewer supplies need to be bought and they can be used up before they become unusable?
- Whenever possible do you choose activities that use recycled materials, or no materials at all?
- Do you have recycle bins in your learning area?
- Do you have a checklist to remind you to do things like turn off the lights, turn thermostats down etc. each week?
- Do you use environmentally friendly cleaning supplies to clean furniture and toys?
- Do you use supplies made from recycled materials?
- Do you use washable cups and plates instead of disposable?
- Do you use energy saving light bulbs?
- Do you use curriculum that can be downloaded, so that you only print what you need?
- When printing session outlines, do you print on both sides of the paper?