Experiential learning for better environment and climate change education

Primary and pre-school teachers explore how to integrate learning about climate change through experiments

06 October 2022
UNICEF Dep. Representative giving opening remarks at the conference on experiential learning
Eco Logic

Skopje, 5-6 October 2022: On World Teachers’ Day, teachers and educators from some 100 schools and kindergartens will gather at a two-day conference to discuss how to integrate experiential learning into the curricula to support environment and climate change education in preschool and primary education.

Organised in partnership between the Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the Swedish Embassy in Skopje, UNICEF and partners, participants will showcase their experience and lessons learned from participating in an experiential learning capacity development initiative.

The first day of the conference includes teachers from primary education that have been involved in the initiative, while the second day will bring together pre-school teachers.  A special focus of the conference will be on involving the professional learning community so that teachers and educators can continue sharing their knowledge, tips and tools and ensure wide use of this approach in the teaching and learning process in schools.

"Through play-based learning, children express and expand their understanding of themselves and the impact they have on the world around them,” said Jovanka Trenchevska, Minister of Labour and Social Policy. “The conference provides a great opportunity for pre-school teachers who have participated in this programme to provide peer support and share their skills and knowledge with other colleagues.”

Over the past two years, pre-school and primary school teachers have been participating in a UNICEF and partners supported capacity building initiative on climate change through experiments, hands-on-activities and critical reflection on their experience. This initiative was established to provide new approaches to help students better connect the things they learn in school with their everyday lives and practices.

“Teachers have demonstrated that knowledge does not have to be passed on only through books and lectures, but through hands-on interaction and learning through doing,” said H.E. Ami Larsson-Jain, Ambassador of Sweden in North Macedonia. She continued to highlight that an educational system that is flexible and innovative is best able to equip students for a dynamic and challenging future.

“The climate crisis is a question of children’s rights. Children’s understanding of the climate and the environmental crisis is crucial for their agency and impact in the society. This is why starting with environment education from the youngest age is an essential element of our response to the greatest challenge of our time - climate change and environmental degradation,” said Artur Ayvazov, UNICEF Deputy Representative. “We are especially glad that teachers and educators involved in this initiative are applying learning through experiments. Play-based learning approaches can transform the educational experiences of children and strengthen learning motivation and outcomes. Learning complex scientific concepts through experiments can stimulate curiosity among children and build lifelong learners.”

“So far more than 10,000 children from kindergartens and primary schools were involved in the testing of the experiments and practical activities and their feedback was astonishing. From our experience in providing experiential learning for climate and environment education we can definitely conclude that it is one of the most important methods to broaden children’s understanding of the environment phenomena and how our behavior impacts the eco-systems,” said Nikola Neshkoski, Director of CSO Eco Logic.

Teaching environment and climate change through experiments and hands on activities is part of the programme “Empowering children and young people to act as change agents to reduce the vulnerability of climate change to communities” funded by Sweden and implemented by UNICEF Country Office North Macedonia.

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