Last week in Haaretz, Naamah Lanski reported on the new green police in town. They’re about a meter tall, can’t read or write yet, and you better not throw away plastic bottles (or any other recyclables), leave lights on, or even pack lunches in plastic bags around them.
That’s right. Israel’s kindergartens are going green.
Not that kindergartens haven’t been green up till now. Many kindergarten teachers have always integrated green content in their classrooms, encouraging their students to recycle, use both sides of paper, and collect egg cartons and paper rolls from home for art projects. But as of two years ago, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Environmental Protection have been working together to create green curriculums for interested kindergartens and helping them implement their new plans with external assistance.
The purpose of this initiative (which 90 kindergartens have taken part in to date) is to create environmental awareness at a young age, so that the next generation of citizens is greener. The Ministry of Environmental Protection defines the objectives of the program as follows:
Identify problems in the kindergarten’s environment, learn about the cause and effect, and determine the individual’s responsibility with regards to the problem.
Create codes of environmentally friendly behavior and implement them in the kindergarten’s daily activity.
Take responsibility at the individual level (this includes students, parents, and the kindergarten staff) for continued and long term improvement.
Develop and ethical and moral judgment system in relation to the environment.
Create an atmosphere that supports educational content.
Parents who are interested in having their children’s kindergarten go green should speak with the kindergarten teacher and other parents, and together can approach the Ministry of Environmental Protection.