Earth Day is a wonderful opportunity to nurture a student’s innate curiosity about the world; moreover, an opportunity to plant social-emotional seeds around belonging, gratitude, and responsibility. A part of our role as educators is to support students' understanding of how they can take an active role in caring for and safeguarding the planet for future generations.
So come along as we SEL-ebrate Earth Day and discover the ways our gifts of nature expert, Honey Bear, uncovers three foundational social-emotional values hidden within the flora and fauna of planet earth.
Honey Bear’s affirmation:
I care for the Earth, and it cares for me. We are all connected and grateful to be.
Observing Earth Day with students offers them the opportunity to freely explore nature, get outside, and breathe in the great outdoors. Exposure to the planet’s robust energy, abundant new growth, and infinite possibility – a parallel to the human experience – emphasizes a lesson in deep connection and belonging. Honey Bear reminds us that when we care for the earth, it cares for us in return. It’s no surprise that the earth naturally provides a rich array of gifts; gifts that help us feel better connected not just to the world but to each other.
Within the wonder and vibrancy of nature, students glean messages of purpose while strengthening an interconnection to the environment and an affinity to care. Allowing children to witness and appreciate the vulnerability of the planet promotes personal responsibility and accountability- regard for the greater good. [Honey Bear] took a deep breath and smelled the fresh air. A smile came to her face and her heart filled with care. Championing students’ intrinsic spirit of wonder while emphasizing the value of our environment is imperative in shaping a passion for the treatment of our planet and oneself.
Experts report that a strong sense of self contributes to students’ attitudes toward mindfulness, connection, and gratitude. We know as educators that one of the best ways to help students develop a healthy sense of self is to nurture their curiosity and support the discovery of the world. It’s a chance for children to experience and appreciate the magic in the unique playfulness and vitality of the earth. When you give to the earth and the earth gives to you - you can share all the love and grow gratitude. Encouraging students’ expression of gratitude for the world’s diverse beauty not only celebrates the present but bolsters hope and optimism for the future of the planet.
Earth Day Recommendations & Resources:
- Lead students on a nature walk
- Encourage exploration of senses (colors, textures, sounds, and smells)
- Engage students about actions/behaviors that impact the delicacy of earth’s organisms
- Discuss environmental conservation (reuse, reduce, recycle)
- Share things in nature students are grateful for
- Honey Bear Activities: Attitude of Gratitude
- Honey Bear Resources: Honey Bear's Gratitude Resources
- Honey Bear Gratitude Unit Plan: Cultivating Gratitude For Kids In The Classroom
Bonus: Research tells us that connecting with the earth- spending time outdoors- naturally raises serotonin levels, improves mood, and lowers heart rate. These benefits further draw students closer together and emphasize a sense of belonging, gratitude, and responsibility.