Program Spotlight: Change is Simple
Welcome to Outdoor Classrooms Program Spotlight. From backyards to schoolyards, we want to find the Outdoor Classrooms, Children’s Gardens & Community Programs that are cultivating wonder, curiosity and playful learning. This week our Program Spotlight is Change Is Simple from Massachusetts. I would like to welcome and introduce, Lauren Belmonte, Executive Director & Founder. She is here today to share the Change Is Simple story.
Any financial advisor would tell you to live within your means. Sound advice. Yet our society is spending our planet’s resources at a rate far beyond our means. With 200,000 more people on the earth each day, we can’t assure our kids will have the clean air, safe water, or healthy food they need. Something has to change. So we start in elementary school, when change really is Simple: kids are pliable and genuinely open to learning. Change is Simple skips the scary stuff and we make these serious topics fun; we instill hope and inspire action.
Change is Simple inspires elementary students to adopt lifelong environmental and social responsibility through a comprehensive sustainability curriculum. The curriculum is a series of hands-on lessons taught by college students and environmental scientists. Elementary school students receive four 1-hour lessons per year that flow together yet build in complexity from second to sixth grade. This is not nature-based education; the Change is Simple education model transforms classrooms into construction zones and ecosystems, and students into engineers and scientists. It integrates relevant science and sustainability topics into classrooms, enabling students to apply math, English, and social studies to address real and relevant world issues.
The Change is Simple education model supports kids, teachers, and our planet. It is:
- Memorable: it uses interactive learning tools (i.e. 1500ft2 world map, mobile trailer garden, classroom wind turbines, and more), and college students act as role models in the elementary classrooms
- Empowering: students learn how they interact with and depend on their natural resources; lessons focus on the positive impacts students can have every day, and are inclusive of all learners
- Effective: it integrates mandated curriculum and focuses on relevant topics to increase comprehension, problem solving skills, and overall scholastic success
If we inspire action today, kids will follow a lifelong path of responsibility not just for their environment but also for their community and their own health. Our students will soon become CEOs taking into account their supply chain, farmers using sustainable practices, and parents choosing safe products for their families. We are transforming students from bystanders to mindful participants in creating a more sustainable, healthier world.
Now I want to hear from you. Are you a change agent? Do you have a program, outdoor classroom or children’s garden that you would like to feature in our Outdoor Classrooms community? Does your program create change? Tell us what you are doing in the comments below. Send information about your program to Victoria Hackett.