As Earth Day approached this year, we decided that it would be best to connect this very important day with Kartini Day, as Kartini Day is April 21st and Earth Day is April 22nd. Kartini Day celebrates the life of Raden Adjeng Kartini, who was a pioneer in the area of human rights for native Indonesians, particularly in the area of girls’ education. Kartini is a wonderful example of Habit 1: Be Proactive. This led us to explore ways in which our students could practice Habit 1 in conjunction with Earth Day and we ultimately decided that a neighbourhood clean-up would be a great learning experience.
As Earth Day approached, a week full of heavy rains meant that the clean-up areas were flooded and very muddy, however we did not want our students to miss out on this great opportunity. Instead, on the morning of April 29th, equipped with gloves and masks, our students hit the streets with full force.
Each grade level was assigned an area of the neighbourhood around the school that they were responsible for cleaning. The students enthusiastically darted around their assigned areas, picking up any trash in sight. The sight of 110 primary students donning their purple trimmed RPA PE uniforms drew attention of many onlookers, some who even stopped to take pictures of this display of proactivity.
It quickly became clear that the amount of trash around the area of school would need more than one day of clean-up. As a result, we are committed to making the neighbourhood clean-up a regular activity.
Upon returning to their classrooms, students were given the opportunity to reflect on their experience. It was apparent that the students were truly shocked at the amount of trash that had amassed around the neighbourhood, leading students to gain a fuller understanding of the importance of not littering. They also learned that, by cleaning up the neighbourhood, they were not simply picking up trash, but were setting an example for those who were watching. Hopefully a few of the neighbours thought twice before throwing trash on the ground that day.