A group of teachers and students are calling on primary school teachers in Ireland to help improve climate education.

As part of this year’s ‘Climate and Nature Summit, which is organised to coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, a special series of events focused on primary school teachers will highlight the many ways in which primary schools can engage with the climate crisis.

Mary Moore, one of the organisers of the ‘Primary Summit’ programme in the Climate and Nature Summit said: 

“In primary schools, we need to re-connect children and teachers with the natural world. Primary teachers are ready and willing to engage their pupils with the local environment but need further support in terms of resources, personnel and training. The Irish Schools Sustainability Network (ISSN) is working to support teachers in recommitting to climate and nature education in our schools.”

To support nature education in schools, the theme of this year’s primary summit is ‘Irish Native Woodlands’. 

During the Primary Summit, special video lessons will be shown, and teachers will be introduced to dedicated teacher resources and toolkits. A key focus of the summit this year is cross-curricular integration. 

Mary Moore explained:

“It is important that teachers and pupils can explore climate and nature through the lens of as many subjects as possible.

During the Climate & Nature Summit, teachers will be able to take part in tailor-made video lessons, prepared by education and environmental experts, in partnership with a range of organisations, including the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, PickerPals, Global Action Plan and others. 

To build understanding around the theme of our native woodlands, Eoghan Daltun will share his experiences of rewilding Irish Rainforests and Green Schools Ireland will take us on a journey through our native woodlands. Fighting Words have created two writing lessons, in English and Irish, that will support pupils’ critical thinking about nature and our environment. Artist and entomologist Nessa Darcy, has created a wonderful art and climate resilience workshop and Collie Ennis will inspire us to take action through the creation of a school pond.”

Organisers of the Summit say that they hope that the summit will support teachers in creating a thematic unit of work based on Ireland’s native woodlands and provide plenty of opportunity for pupils, teachers and the wider school community to engage in nature and climate conversations.

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