Jeanette Boirard with Sandy Ground children and their creations (right) made from recycled materials. (Robert Luckock photo)
MARIGOT–Young children from Sandy Ground have been gaining an appreciation for protecting the environment by using recyclable materials in their arts- and crafts-making afterschool activity classes. Several of their creations have been on display in the district council’s offices.
The environmental aspect has been encouraged by Association Aim for Success and Sandy Ground on the Move Insertion as part of the two associations’ collaboration on helping children of primary school age with their homework. Different activities on the theme of respecting the environment are organised in the vacation period.
“Last year we have been studying flora and fauna, marine life, birds, trees, etc.,” explained project coordinator Jeannette Boirard. “In July we visited Birdville where the children got to see different birds up close and fed them.
“We also went to Amuseum Naturalis in French Quarter where they took part in different bird activities with the Les Fruits de Mer educators, who were very good with the children, coming up with different ideas. And for this school year starting in September we decided to go on the ‘I am an eco-citizen’ and ‘I respect my environment’ themes.
“So, we asked the children to create artistic objects from items that they would normally throw away, to teach them the importance of recycling and sustainability. They took to it straightaway and love what they are doing. They are very hands-on. They are learning what trash does to the environment, how toxic it is, how trash gets into the oceans and how dangerous that is for marine mammals, especially plastic items and bottles. They weren’t aware of all this harm to the environment and were quite shocked.”
Boirard hopes the children will pass on the message to their parents to use less paper, stop using single-use plastic bags, and to sort and recycle.
“We have stayed on this environment theme for two years now because of the consequences of Hurricane Irma,” Boirard adds. “Many children are still traumatised by that experience. We are also teaching them about climate change, how it is affecting the planet and why natural disasters like hurricanes are becoming more severe and more frequent. Children at this age can play a small role in reversing climate change.”