It’s the time of year for celebrations and we have one of our own! November 22nd was our anniversary - celebrating a year of delivering Planet Action Workshops in schools.
We want to make special mention of Kentisbeare Primary School who were the first school to open their doors to us and SUCH a great group of teachers and students to work with - we had a great start with them.
Since then, we have reached 5,976 students across Devon. We are really grateful to all the schools who have hosted us - for the chance to get in front of young people and spread a message of positive planet action. We are passionate about doing our bit to support and equip the next generation for the challenges they will have to face in the light of the climate and nature crisis. Education has such a central part to play in preparing young people for the future. The development of the National Curriculum is going at a pace that doesn’t keep up with the needs of the rate of change we’re currently experiencing. We go to many schools where teachers tell us they want to spend more time outside, they want to spend more time connecting to nature and making sustainable changes in schools, but they don’t have time, they are not equipped or there isn’t the budget for it. Our work is really important - schools need support in delivering information, a different way of thinking, and the skills to grow a generation who will be able to build a future where they can thrive on a planet that is also thriving. At the moment, the education system is failing in this area and it falls to progressive educators and outside provision to fill these gaps. Let’s make sure teachers are given the support they need to deliver on resilience for a future affected by climate change. You can donate to Planet & People and pay it forward to a Devon school who needs support in environmental education.
Over the course of the year, we have grown our team and it’s brilliant for us to see others take the message and put their own mark on it through their unique style and skills. We (Jess and Bethia) have honed our double act over the year - we hardly ever say stupid things anymore! And we still come to Planet Action Workshops with fresh eyes - we love what we do and strive to make our offering the best it possibly can be.
We recently heard a talk by educator on reasons for becoming a teacher - the love of learning, ideas and knowledge is so often the place where an educator starts and we believe the best educators stay in that place throughout their working lives. We have learnt SO much this year from the work we are doing - new ideas, new perspectives, new knowledge.
We thought we would share our highlights and the things we have learnt with you.
1. This year I have been reminded of the importance of simplicity and how profound children can be. Simplifying complex concepts to just a few words is a challenge to most adults, yet many times this year I have been struck by how children have a way of doing this with ease. They cut through so much of our ‘muddle’ and get straight to the heart of the matter. My favourite example of this was from one of our 'Hope' workshops - "I hope in 50 years time, endangered animals won't be endangered any more".
2. I’ve been encouraged by the power of change - how, when we have come in and offered something different, it has prompted teachers to see their class differently, to notice insights or personality traits that they might not have seen before in the context of traditional learning in the classroom. An example of this happened recently in one of our 'Planet Minded' workshops - students spent time outside creating activities and games which made them feel a certain way - calm, happy, connected to their friends etc. We played a circle game to feel calm and the teachers were amazed at how it really did help to focus their minds and test new skills from an early years class.
3. I have so enjoyed the magic of collaboration - how mixed age teams can have so many benefits and set an example to changemakers. An example of this comes from our summer term workshop called 'This Year On Earth'. Small teams worked together with team leaders to help each other to understand about the work young planet actioneers have been doing on all continents to combat climate change in the past year. They then collaborated to paint a picture to represent the climate change stories.
1. There are some incredible teachers and educators out there. Generally speaking, teachers don't gets paid in schools at the moment to do environmental education - these are all teachers who are doing it out of good will, passion or who have answered a call from their head teacher to add more to their plate and take on ‘eco activities’ for the school. I talk to every school before we visit to find out where they are on their sustainable journey, what their challenges are and how we can usefully support what they are already doing. I love bumping into teachers who are keeping bees and making honey on school sites, who have got their whole school to try vegan lunches, who personally collect and recycle crisp packets or who give up their free time to run eco councils. Thank GOODNESS there are teachers out there who are switched on and making things happen in their schools!
2. I really enjoy the open mindedness of young people. Their ideas are uninhibited which I find so reassuring since innovation is going to be such an essential part of tackling challenges in the future. My favourite solutions for the future have been lunch boxes that you can eat to remove all waste, living houses made from trees and plants, telepathy used to read animals' minds so that we can understand what THEY want and need. We’ve met some genius this year.
3. I absolutely love the potential in young people. I did a talk recently to a group of retired professionals and it really struck me how different they were as an audience - they had incredible knowledge, experience and a really sophisticated understanding of how we as individuals and societies at large function. Young people are so different - they have wide eyed wonder, they find joy so quickly and with such ease, they are bursting with energy and optimism and these ARE qualities which are needed in the face of some big and tough realities.
We are booked until Easter next year, but if you or someone you know needs support in their schools for environmental education then get in touch with us. We want to do our bit and we really believe in what we are doing!
We hope to continue our work for as long as is needed. We are collaborative, adaptable and professional. Our schools work is funded largely through grants and fundraising. Schools are having a particularly tough time at the moment, battling against the cost of heating schools in the midst of an energy crisis. If you believe in the work we do, we encourage you to donate to Planet & People to pay it forward and support a school that needs support in environmental education. DONATE HERE
Planet & People is a Community Interest Company with two main aims:
To empower the next generation to create a better future for planet and people. Our funded Planet Action Workshops are delivered in schools across Devon - get in touch with us if you need support with environmental education at your school.
To engage businesses, particularly those with a connection to the education sphere, to take positive action for the planet and invest in the next generation by joining the Devon Planet Action Partnership.
“The future of humankind, and indeed all life on earth, depends on us”