Eco-Schools is an international initiative designed to encourage young people to get involved in protecting the environment. It encompasses both the school and the local community. The Eco-Schools programme operates in 68 countries around the world and celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019. The Environment the Musical (ETM) pack can be used to great effect by schools in 2 of the seven steps and 3 of the 11 themes.
Environment the Musical complements the work of Eco-Schools in Steps 5 and 6. Step 5 is Curriculum Work during which the agreed-upon programme (developed in earlier steps) is integrated into the curriculum. Environment the Musical offers a fun and engaging approach to educate children on some of the key Eco-Schools themes. Music and drama are an innovative way to spread important environmental messages and make the experience memorable.
Step 6 is Inform and Involve. This is when the school gets the local community involved. One aspect of this is Global Action Days. A performance of Environment the Musical or of a few of the songs would be a great way to spread the message to parents, neighbours and other attendees. Most of the songs from Environment the Musical would be ideal for this. You can read some of the lyrics and listen to clips of all of the songs here: https://www.annettemcnelis.ie/resources/songs
There are 12 themes in the Eco-Schools programme and ETM covers 3 of them. These are Litter, Global Citizenship and Waste. The songs and the script place great focus on how damaging littering is and how important it is to dispose of waste properly. Another key theme is the importance of looking after our local area for everyone who lives or visits.
The Environment the Musical story line also features volunteering, recycling and dog fouling. Teachers can use scenes from the musical or the songs in isolation to put these issues into context and bring the environmental messages to life.
As the greening of our future is in our hands, people are at the centre of the Eco-Schools programme. This is represented in the Eco-Schools logo by the flower flourishing above the head of the central person. It’s fitting then that It’s In Our Hands is the closing song of Environment the Musical.
One of the great things about the pack is that you can use it throughout the school year to emphasize the important learning from the Eco-Schools work. For example, teachers could incorporate the songs into graduation or holiday performances.
Teachers with no musical background can easily get a short performance ready which is not only enjoyable and upbeat but also educational for the children and their audience. You can find out even more about Environment the Musical here: https://www.annettemcnelis.ie/