How ACTAsia sowed the seeds of change on Earth Day

Celebrated world-wide on 22nd April, Earth Day is an opportunity for nations to demonstrate support for global environmental protection. More than 1billion people across schools, universities, workplaces and families support the initiative through a myriad of activities and educational programs.

This year marked ACTAsia’s first contribution to Earth Day by offering our Caring for Life (CFL) Enrichment Lesson Plans to schools and organisations across China.  CFL is a unique six-year program for all primary school years. It encompasses social welfare and civic responsibility, animal welfare, and environmental issues, and recognises the interdependence of all living things. CFL program works closely with teachers and education authorities.

From 12th – 23rd April schools were invited to share key concepts on climate change and biodiversity using age relevant materials and activities to demonstrate how easy it is to incorporate civic duty and problem-solving into their daily school life. ACTAsia pioneered activity-based learning to create opportunity to develop critical thinking and enhance the learning experience.  

ACTAsia shared its newly written (2020) two enrichment modules on Climate Change and Biodiversity, so that teachers could choose a lesson plan to use on the day to celebrate Earth Day. We offered the resources to our Pioneer schools (9) and to other organisations keen to celebrate Earth Day. We were delighted that 52 schools and clubs signed up to complete activities within 573 lessons reaching an estimated 24, 500 children over the course of the events.

Targeted lessons ranged from climate-based activities such as: “Can you tell from my expressions, body language, and appearance what I am feeling and what kind of weather I am in?”

Fully engaging with the theme, teachers at Hua Hong Elementary School, helped children to understand that not only do changes in weather bring about emotional effects, but also that either sunlight or rain helps plants and animals to grow. Further discussion and questioning followed as part of the program – for example: ‘What happens if the weather doesn’t follow expected patterns – what would happen to plants and animals and what can we do about it?’  Topics such as plastic pollution demonstrated what we do at one side of the planet affects us all and that greenhouse gasses deplete in the atmosphere at a slow rate meaning that we need to release them sparingly to avoid centuries of residue and damage. 

In addition to educating the younger years, teachers encouraged the children to share what they had learned with their parents and the wider community – ensuring that ACTAsia’s CFL program is having an impact across all generations. Teachers and ACTAsia believe that by educating children in this way it will champion change on a small scale such as waste recycling at home to looking at the bigger picture such as promoting biodiversity and protecting the planet.

In 2020, ACTAsia signed up the EARTHDAY Climate Literacy Campaign, calling on Governments to commit to Urgent Action on Climate and Environmental Literacy at the Conference of the Parties (COP26). The action requires that governments show leadership by agreeing to ambitious plans to provide compulsory climate and environmental education, along with civic skills as part of their national curriculum.  

The core purpose and goal for CFL Primary Curriculum is to gather momentum, through examples, success stories and thorough evaluation, to ensure that over time, our CFL primary curriculum is incorporated into the national curriculum and delivered in every child’s school life.  ACTAsia are confident that our impactful enrichment models will start to effect change now thereby creating a legacy for future generations. 

Over 23,000 children participated through 544 classes either on climate change or biodiversity. Approximately 370 classes participated online with the digital platform Hu+ to deliver climate change and biodiversity lessons to classrooms in rural China. 

ACTAsia’s CEO, Pei, commented: ‘Earth Day gives ACTAsia a chance to show the world that there are schools in China teaching kindness and empathy through our Caring for Life curriculum and lets us showcase our work within China with an eye on our long-term goal, to have our curriculum adopted into the national curriculum, for every child.’