Science in the primary school curriculum

Environmental awareness and care

The local environment provides a seedbed for educational ideas and a living laboratory for observation and experimentation.

The environment provides the context for learning for primary pupils. The curriculum area of SESE is specifically founded on the pupils’ relationship and interaction with the world around them. The environment, in its broadest sense, is the springboard for learning, and pupils’ classroom experience will be deepened and extended by direct experience of their own surroundings. Get out and about as much as possible.

The locality will provide the starting points for environmental education, and as children’s knowledge and understanding grow and develop they will encompass other places and direct pupils to Irish, European and global dimensions.

Pupils should develop a broad and balanced view of the environment. They should appreciate the ways in which science and technology can help people to use the Earth’s resources for the social, cultural and economic benefits of humanity. Environmental education through science will enable pupils to understand the interdependence of all life. It will help them to understand the positive and negative repercussions of human action on local and global environments.

Pupils will develop and apply scientific knowledge and skills in protecting, conserving and improving their environments. They will appreciate that they can apply their scientific and technological knowledge and methods of working in promoting positive and responsible attitudes to the use of the Earth’s resources and in contributing actively to human development and to the shaping of the environment of the future. It is essential that teachers take the pupils on planned scientific excursions outside as often as possible, be that to simply study moss growing on a wall, to lift a stone and observe, to feel the suns rays on your face or to look at the variety of plants in a typical Irish ditch! When the young scientist suffers a nettle sting, after the initial shock, what scientific questions should the young scientist be asking?

Hanging out in the great outdoors solidifies the environmental care and appreciation espoused in the classroom.