Posted by Leanna S, February 18 2020
The effects of climate change are irreversible and children, under the age of 10, are most susceptible to the damages of environmental degradation. The responsibility to act, make a difference, and ensure a healthier environment falls on adults. Adults have, to an extent an awareness and capability to act for the benefit of the next generation.
Change happens at multiple levels, and involving children in a cycle that greatly affects their opportunities in life is a responsibility that we should all take seriously. Even the smallest steps can have big consequences, especially in driving awareness. With focused efforts on getting adults involved in driving change for the environment, it is refreshing to hear stories about involving children in their own future.
In Berlin, last October 2019, one such example of sharing time, effort, and skill to make positive impact is TeachSurfer Daniel who held a workshop hosted by Wir Gestalten e.V. on the topic of reducing waste. The workshop was especially adapted to children, 3-10 years of age. As an expert in the field of sustainable development, particularly in ecological sustainability, Daniel is motivated by a social commitment to create impact through enlightening people on what needs to change and a personal dedication to live with more awareness.
In line with Global Cleanup Day, Daniel held a two-part workshop to raise awareness on waste management. The first was an interactive learning experience where the children were introduced to waste collection by physically picking-up rubbish on the streets and orienting them on the proper bins to use. Two weeks after, Daniel facilitated a more traditional-style workshop, where children learned various techniques in reducing waste, such as cutting on consumption through sharing or instead buying products that are made from renewable materials.
Daniel’s insights on his experience were reflections on the nature of children themselves – that they are naturally curious. This made the workshop for him, an enjoyable experience because of their willingness to learn. However, it was not without difficulty because of the energy required to keep up with the children’s own. “The challenge is in keeping them focused and properly directing their energy through more interactive means,” Daniel said.
Teaching for Daniel is also a chance to learn and develop – from improving on public speaking, building self-confidence, and practising empathy to be a more effective teacher. Through his workshop trainings with TeachSurfing, he further developed his skills in workshop facilitation, technical troubleshooting, creating presentations, and engaging audiences. Together with his professional experiences, the training program TSRP conducted by TeachSurfing gave him the added knowledge to confidently accomplish both more challenging and rewarding workshops.
For Daniel, the workshop was very fulfilling – sharing what he is passionate about, feeling good to be doing his part in building a better society, and helping create better lives for children. “Society can learn a lot from children - to be more open-minded; it needs to change its structures, one from dictation to choice, from spoon-feeding to involvement.”