You can make students learn about turning food scraps into something which will be worth it. The end product will be tasty and healthy food. Thus, you might not doubt that composting for schools sounds like a good option.
In simple words, composting can be considered a powerful tool in schools. With this, students will get empowered for participating in sustainability efforts. Keep reading to know in detail about composting at school.
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Is composting in school garden possible?
Yes, it is possible to try composting in school gardens which can even be a valuable sustainable, and educational practice. If you implement composting in school, then students will get the opportunity to know the role played by recycling and reducing waste. Also, they can participate in creating something valuable resources. With composting, students can closely observe how waste gets transformed into a precious resource. Students can try hands-on learning, which will contribute to the school community’s sustainability.
Benefits of composting in schools
1) Waste Reduction and Recycling
By incorporating composting into the daily practice of the school, you can aid in diverting organic waste from all those landfills. Rather than discarding organic matter like leaves, you can transform them into nutrient-rich produce.
As a result, there will be a reduction in the waste amount being sent to landfills. It can mitigate greenhouse gas emission, which is the result of organic waste decomposition. You can expect a circular economy as organic matter can be recycled back into the soil.
2) Environmental Consciousness
By implementing composting in schools, you instill sustainable habits and environmental consciousness among the students. Students will get to know about the vital role played by recycling, reusing, and reducing. Such kind of lessons will encourage students to try eco-friendly practices wherever they go. Thus, it will lead to a broader positive impact being made on the surroundings.
3) Educational Opportunities
With composting, you can provide your students with an experimental and interactive learning opportunity. It would be easier for them to understand the role played by organic waste management and the natural cycle of decomposition.
By performing hands-on activities, your students can learn the interconnectedness of ecosystems and environmental sustainability. Skills like teamwork, problem-solving, and critical thinking can be boosted among students by engaging in composting.
4) Cost savings
If your school isn’t sending much waste to landfills, then you are going to decrease your waste management expenses. Also, if compost on-site is being practiced somewhere, then there is no need of purchasing fertilizers and even reduce landscaping costs. You can use such cost savings in other investments or educational programs being done in school.
5) Soil Enrichment
Compost is considered one of the soil amendments which can improve its water-holding capacity and fertility. If you allow your students to compost and utilize the end product, then they will get to know how organic matter can be turned into a precious resource. The enriched soil can boost the productivity of the garden and the plant’s health.
6) Foster community
It sounds quite interesting to collaborate with other gardening organizations, environmental groups, or composting facilities. They can aid your school to provide guidance, workshops, or resources related to composting. With this kind of engagement, you can strengthen community ties and extend the educational impact on your students.
Composting activities for school children
1) Introduction to Composting
You can start giving your students an interactive presentation or lesson related to composting. Mention the distinctive kinds of compostable matter like yard waste, food scraps, etc. You can encourage their distinguishing power by showing them examples of compostable and non-compostable items. Don’t forget to tell students about the role of balancing brown and green matter in compost.
2) Compost Bin Assembly and Design
Now, divide your students into groups, then give them compost bin components such as plastic containers, wire mesh, wooden pallets, etc. Provide them guidance on how to work together for resembling their compost bin. Highlight the major role played by proper drainage and aeration. At last, discuss the compost bin placement mainly focusing on accessibility and sunlight.
3) Waste Sorting and Collection
You can organize an activity related to waste sorting. In this, students will get a chance to classify distinctive waste types such as landfill-bound, recyclable, or compostable. Just assign them the responsibility for collecting food scraps they spot at home or the school cafeteria. It would be easier for students if you provide them with labeled containers for segregating and collecting the compostable matter.
4) Layering and Monitoring
You can demonstrate to students the layering technique with the help of a compost pile in the compost bin. Concepts like carbon-to-nitrogen ratios can be understood easily with this. Guide your students to add green and brown matter in appropriate amounts. Allow them to monitor and record the decomposition progress, moisture, and temperature.
5) Compost Turnings and Maintenance
Students should know how they can turn the compost pile for giving a boost to decomposition and aeration. You can assign them rotating responsibilities to regularly turn the compost with the aid of shovels or pitchforks. Also, mention the role played by moisture level and how can they dry out the matter or add water as per requirement.
6) Harvesting and Using Compost
You demonstrate to students about the harvesting process of the finished product. You can do this by using a compost tumbler. Encourage students to give a try to the hands-on activity of bagging and collecting the end product. Teach students how they can use compost in their school potted plants or garden beds. Also, highlight the benefits expected from using compost, like plant growth.
7) Reflection and Communication
In the end, you can try journaling activities for students where they can mention their composting experience and the impact they made with their efforts. It would be better if students create posters or presentations to share about their composting journey.
Engaging students in composting will offer them a range of benefits, whether they are practical advantages or educational ones. You can try the above-mentioned composting activities in your school. With this, students will be educated about environmental sustainability and waste management.