Environmental Education and outdoor education in non-formal settings
Environmental education (EE) connects us to the world around us, teaching us about both natural and built environments, raising awareness on issues that impact the environment upon which we all depend, as well as actions we can take to improve and sustain it. Environmental Education has many benefits for youth, educators, schools, and communities:
1. Imagination and enthusiasm are heightened through outdoor, hands-on, interactive learning that sparks the imagination and unlocks creativity.
2. Learning transcends the classroom, since not only does Environmental Education offers opportunities for experiential learning outside of the classroom, but it enables students to make connections and apply their learning in the real world through seeing the interconnectedness of social, ecological, economic, cultural, and political issues.
3. Critical and creative thinking skills are enhanced through encouraging students to research and investigate how and why things happen, and make their own decisions about complex environmental issues. In this way, a new generation is formed of informed consumers, workers, as well as policy or decision makers.
4. Tolerance and understanding are supported through the investigation of varying sides of issues related to culture, diversity and beliefs, in order to understand the full picture.
5. The interdisciplinary character of Environmental Education allows teachers to integrate science, math, language arts, history, and more into one rich lesson or activity, and still satisfy the academic aims in all subject areas.
6. By exposing students to nature and allowing them to learn and play outside, Environmental Education fosters sensitivity, appreciation, and respect for the environment. It combats “nature deficit disorder” … and it’s FUN!
7. Healthy lifestyles are encouraged through active learning in natural settings, and helps students address some of the health issues we are seeing in children today, such as obesity, attention deficit disorders, and depression. Good nutrition is often emphasized through Environmental Education and stress is reduced due to increased time spent in nature.
8. Communities are strengthened, since Environmental Education promotes a sense of place and connection through community involvement (community experts, donors, volunteers, and local facilities) to help bring the community together to understand and address environmental issues impacting their neighborhood.
9. Responsible action is taken to better the environment because Environmental Education helps students understand how their decisions and actions affect the environment, builds knowledge and skills necessary to address complex environmental issues, as well as ways we can take action to keep our environment healthy and sustainable for the future.
10. Students and teachers are empowered through active learning, citizenship, and student leadership. It empowers youth to share their voice and make a difference at their school and in their communities. EE helps teachers build their own environmental knowledge and teaching skills.
This course is addressed to teachers of any specialization, anyone who would like to enrich their repertoire of teaching techniques and ideas in Environmental Education in outdoor settings and anyone interested in studying the science behind natural and man-made places of interest (e.g. National Parks, museums, eco-farms, city historic centres, archaeological sites, nature trails, botanic gardens). The course will be based in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus. In order to conduct the practical modules, there will be visits to a traditional village, to the Troodos mountain range and to Cape Gkreko, which is located in the South-Eastern coast of the island (by the sea).
Indicative Training Program (Day by Day):
- Welcome addressed to the participants by management
- Course outline
- Ice-breaking activities
- Understanding of the historical development of environmental education and the emergence of education for sustainable development,
- Deep insight into contemporary research and professional work in the fields of outdoor education and environmental and sustainability education,
- Sharing of environmental education practices used in different countries/educational organizations
- Use of non-formal education and outdoor settings to promote Environmental Education, such as fieldwork activities at a traditional village of Cyprus (Study of Cultural Environment) or at the Environmental Education Centre of Cape Gkreko (Study of Seaside Environment)
- Enhancement of personal and social development for sustainable living
- Integration of history, environment and culture using non-formal education
- Experience of the challenges and impact of using outdoor settings in the teaching
- Development of skills to use the natural and cultural landscape as a resource in one owns profession
- Exploration of a range of thematic approaches to environmental education
- Participation in experiential environmental education activities in a bio-farm and a forest ecosystem or a river ecosystem (winter)
- Understanding how local production- consumption models can be fostered through environmental education
- Understanding the role of experiential learning in the context of environmental education
- Understanding the relationship between art and environment
- Appreciation of the value of taking art teaching in nature settings
- Experiencing learning by doing through first-hand and sensory activities in the forest ecosystem of Troodos Mountain Range
- Experiencing various instructional approaches connecting to art and Environmental Education and the impact of such approaches in education
- Final activities
- Evaluation of the course
- Diploma awarding
NOTE: Program may be subject to change!
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