Water is life.
As a city dweller I am sure you take water for granted. We barely need to think when we turn the taps on as water always flows out, fresh and clean.
The people who have the best access are the people who need to take better care of it. We need to educate our children so they are aware of where water comes from, where it goes after we have used it and who needs it apart from us!
Water wise activities:
- Look at some different ocean and river animals. How do they live in and around the water?
- Get outside and see where the pipes go after the water goes down the drain.
- Look at the different products that you use to wash your hands, wash the clothes, wash your hair. Read the ingredients and see how these might negatively effect the waterways.
- Find out where your water comes from – where is the local water tower, dam or river?
- It is a human right to have access to water. Where in the world do people not have access to water?
- Read some books that have water as a focal point such as:
The river and the book,
Down the Drain,
All I want for Christmas is rain
Spark your child’s natural wonder and help them to become globally conscious and people who want to look after the world they live in.
The news of bombings fills me with dread of what those people must have felt, what those families who have lost must be feeling and even what the parents and friends of the bomber must be going through.
It fills me with fear about the world that my children are growing up in and concern about how they might feel if they one day hear about or experience these things.
There is hope.
As parents and teachers we can prepare our children for the world by displaying how to be more empathetic towards others through our actions. Think about how you talk about other people, news events and the world.
As parents and teachers we can allow our children to experience what life might be like for other people so that they can be more empathetic. We can do this through conversations and picture books.
If we help our children to understand how the world is different then perhaps we have a brighter future where everyone gets along as best as they can, treats everyone with respect and helps anyone in need.
Try these books that link to refugees.
Mrs White and the Red Desert by Josie Boyle, illustrated by Maggie Prewett is a fascinating story about life in the desert for three children and the trouble with the red dust that blows in and over everything in it’s path!
This group of desert children invite their school teacher, Mrs White, home for dinner to show her why they always bring in grubby homework. BUT – little do they know what mother nature has in store for them all!
They live in a higgledy-piggledy house with a higgledy -piggledy garden but they play outside, tell stories in the sand, have vivid imaginations and love learning.
Maggie Prewett’s illustrations highlight the spareness of the desert and dominance of the red sand after a sand storm! It reminded me of the many times I have spent in the desert and the fact that even months after returning home, I still found that red dust in pockets of clothes and gaps in the car seals!
I loved reading this story to my children and to classes at my school during library lessons as I was able to tell them about the desert and the amazing landscape we have in Australia. We were able to discuss how theses people live near waterways and if they don’t – water needs to be trucked in – a very foreign concept to city based children.
When we read books to children we open their minds to how other children live and therefore increase empathy and awareness of the world around them.
So what can you do with this story at home or in the classroom?
- Look at a map of Australia and see where remote communities live. How do these people live in these areas?
- How do children go to school when they live remotely? Explore School of the Air and Central schools. Compare how you go to school to how they do. Look at this school in Broken Hill
- How did the children in this story pass on stories and learn? Have you ever told a story without writing it down? Try and tell a story or two using only spoken word and perhaps a drawing or two as you talk.
- How did they use their imagination when they heard unusual sounds? Close your eyes and listen to the outside world – imagine what those different sounds could be.
- Explore personification throughout this story. How does making the objects alive add to the story? Create your own personification sentences.
There is still low education achievement outcomes for Indigenous children in Australia. Indigenous children deserve to learn how to read and write as much as any one else does so that they can choose to move out of poverty cycles and educate the next generation.
In many indigenous communities books are scarce and literacy levels are low.
You may have heard in the media about the low literacy rates and perhaps wondered how you can make a difference? It is really important that we as an affluent nation look towards helping developing nations but we need to look at our own communities who at times are functioning at a developing nation level – which should not be happening.
Through education, empowerment and support anyone can achieve anything.
The Indigenous literacy foundation are an amazing group who raise money and work with indigenous communities. Through their programs they empower communities to learn how to read by giving them books and publishing books that have indigenous links.
We are a national book industry charity, which aims to reduce the disadvantage experienced by children in remote Indigenous communities across Australia, by lifting literacy levels and instilling a lifelong love of reading.
Please check them out at www.ilf.org.au and see if your school or community can participate in the great book swap in August: www.greatbookswap.org.au
During the month of May my intention is to help parents and teachers build awareness of how we can act more sustainability and how education in this area can be part of their daily routine.
The world we live in now needs more people to start reflecting on how we are living and how that living is effecting the way others live now and how are future generations are going to be able to live.
Through picture books, small activities and short discussions we can all start to raise awareness in ourselves and our children.
Have you ever read a book about our underground farmers?
Do your children know why earthworms exist and how what we spray on our backyards can drastically effect their health? Try reading Yucky Worms to inspire your own backyard warrior!
Have you ever stopped to look at the detail of a tree?
Many children do have a short attention span but ask them to touch the tree and give you an adjective about how it feels, looks and smells like. You will be amazed! Inspire yourself and your child to appreciate trees and perhaps plant some extra in your own yard or during a community event such as Plant a Tree day.
Try reading Last Tree in the city also – an inspiring read about the power of determination to make a difference.
How about inspiring your child to be more sustainable in order to save an endangered species?
Many adults and children are oblivious to the animals that we effect by the chemicals we pour down the drain, water we waste, plastic waste we throw out and land clearing for housing, farms and business. Try reading a story that inspires someone to tread a little more carefully. The Hairy Nosed Wombats Find a New Home is a very inspiring story as is Phasmid!
Join me in May on instagram and Facebook as I learn how I can make my life more sustainable so someone else in the world has a better chance and so that my children live in a better world.
Where is Bear? by Camilla dela Bedoyere and illustrated by Emma Levey takes the reader on a wonderful journey all over the world to meet different types of bears!
Who knew that there were this many types of bears and of course many more that aren’t mentioned in the book!
This book is full of fun dialogue between a rabbit and all of the different bears she encounters on her journey to deliver a birthday present to her friend Ping the Panda Bear! As we meet each type of bear we also meet the different animals who share the same habitat.
Children learn many different facts through the conversations the animals are having with eachother and will enjoy spotting what each animal is up to.
Emma Levey’s illustrations are colourful and eye catching so your child will not only be engaged with the fun dialogue but also with the creative drawings.
Where is Bear? is a wonderful book to engage your child into not only the world of bears but also an awareness of different habitats around the world.
So what can you do with this book?
- Which bears are threatened or endangered species? Investigate why this is happening.
- What sort of habitat do the different bears live in? Are any of these habitats changing due to human action?
- Could any of these bears ever encounter each other?
- Plot on a map where the different bears are from – make it more detailed than the one in the story.
- Create your own non-fiction picture book that allows the reader to learn about something in a fun way. Aim to engage younger readers into more complex topics.
Rock Pool Secrets by Narelle Oliver was the last book she produced in her artistic career and it truly is a wonderful book to be remembered by.
Rock Pool Secrets take children on a journey into the secrets of a rock pool through high and low tide. Children can discover the different animals that hide amongst the rocks and see how they survive fluctuations in the water level, food availability and predators.
Rock Pools are always a fascinating place to be and there is so much hidden deep down crevices and cracks, behind seaweed and darkness.
Each page engages the reader as they search for camouflaged animals, hidden molluscs and inky octopuses.
Rock Pool Secrets is a beautiful book to help your child become aware of these imagination inspiring places and how something so small can do so many amazing things.
So what can you do with this book?
- Learn about different animals that live in rock pools. Discover their life cycles, habitat and eating habits.
- Where are rockpools situated?
- Are there any famous rockpools in the world and why are they famous?
- Using this book as a springboard, choose another area of interest in the area of science. How could you present this new topic in an interesting and engaging manner? Try to engage your peers in a new way so that they can learn something new.
- Why do we need rockpools?
- How can the ph of the water effect the livelihood of rock pool creatures?
- What sort of creatures only live in rockpools?
- Are rockpools ever in danger of destruction?
- If all rockpools were destroyed, what might the oceans look like?