Improving environmental awareness among children

Environmental awareness is one of the important themes in China. And as with many issues, it is deemed most efficient to teach young children the importance of handling waste. Our colleagues from Automotive & Aerospace Coatings in Shanghai have chosen 'Garbage Classification' in schools as their key activity in their community and drew up a plan to involve 6 primary schools, 3 kindergartens and 1 vocational school. Support from the Community Program was granted and in the summer of 2011 a start was made at the Yew Chung International School of Shanghai.

About 150 employees volunteered to give lectures about garbage classification and separation, organize competitions between the students in which the volunteering employees act as committee, and help organize interactive game sessions in which the children are taught about separation of the various wastes in a playful manner.

The first activity on environmental protection education was mainly focused on students from Year 5 to 6. The choice for this age group was made as these children already have environmental awareness but they are not really familiar with it in daily life. More than 100 students at the Yew Chung International School joined the lectures and actively participated in the interactive sessions such as the garbage classification games. In these sessions some of students were chosen to act as different labelled ash-bins, and in turn they identified other children to throw a 'garbage card'. On these cards a variety of garbage names was written, matching with the labels on the 'live' ash-bins. In case the right choice was made, the student received a gift as encouragement.

Main lecturer of the teaching program, Fang Luo from Car Refinishes China, was very positive about their chosen approach: "We really believe that by teaching these students this popular way we will improve their environmental awareness. The good news is that we heard from the school leader that we did it definitely right and that the children who participated learned a lot from our lessons and games."

In order to enable the children to bring their newly gained knowledge into practice, our colleagues sent 5 sets of stainless steel ash-bins to the school to be placed inside the campus as well as in the classrooms. A first step was made which will be followed by many others. Our volunteers will continue their activities on other schools to achieve their main goal: creating the right attitude towards contributing to a clean environment at a young age and in the end making our world a better place to live.