Strand: environmental awareness and care - part 2 

An awareness and appreciation of environments is best fostered by a thorough knowledge of their distinguishing features and characteristics. By visiting and exploring different environmental features and by recording and analysing their observations children will come to appreciate them more fully and will become sensitive to the impact that change will bring.

In the infant and junior classes the unit ‘Caring for my locality’ is rooted in the child’s awareness of the environment, the natural features to be found there and the habitats that these provide for plants and animals. The unit also encourages the identification of simple yet important opportunities for individual and group action to care for the immediate surroundings, for example in keeping the classroom tidy, in keeping the school and yard clean, and in caring for plants and animals.

In the middle and senior classes the strand unit ‘Environmental awareness’ provides for the study of different environments in Ireland and in other parts of the world and an examination of the interdependence and systems that are found there. Children in the middle and senior classes will develop an understanding of the relationships between the plants and animals in the environment. They will study plants and animals as elements of the whole community (ecosystem), which is composed of many other species and non-living surroundings.

Children should develop a broad and balanced view of the environment. The strand unit ‘Science and the environment’ encourages pupils in the middle and senior classes to appreciate the ways in which science and technology have enabled people to use the Earth’s resources for the social, cultural and economic benefits of humanity. Children should be provided with opportunities to become aware of the applications of science and technology in familiar contexts in the home, school, work-place and the environment.

In the middle and senior classes the strand unit ‘Caring for the environment’ provides opportunities for children to examine the causes of a local, national or global issue and suggest possible solutions. An important aspect of this strand is that children should be able to explore environmental issues in a critical and informed way. They should have opportunities to contribute to and participate in the resolution of these issues whenever possible.