Teachers show students how to reduce, reuse, and recycle

At N.W. Harllee Early Childhood Center kindergarten students are looking to the future. When kindergarten teacher Zaria Wynn was teaching her students about what is recyclable, the students started wondering about why stuff was being thrown away instead of being recycled.

This discussion led Wynn to team up with Michelle Touchet, the school’s library media specialist, to start a recycling  program with the students. Touchet had worked on the green team and recycling program in a previous campus, so the two began to work collectively on this project after spring break.

This relatively new endeavor at the school has already turned into a schoolwide collaboration. Once Wynn and Touchet took on the task, Touchet reached out to her local city council representative to get a blue recycling bin through the city of Dallas. The school received one the next day.

“The idea about getting the blue residential rolling cart on campus was so we could teach our little ones how to use the city’s recycling system so they can hopefully teach their parents,” Touchet said. 

The students started out with paper only. Students and teachers began to place the leftover paper in the blue bin located in the main hallway downstairs.The students also began to notice that there was an opportunity to recycle materials in the cafeteria.

“There’s quite a bit of plastic that’s generated in some of those prepared meals,” Touchet said. “And so the kiddos have noticed things that  have a triangle on it, and they put it in a pile and make sure it’s clean.” 

One of the goals of the program is to start a compost project in the future once the logistics are worked out, Touchet said.

This semester Touchet and Wynn, along with their colleagues, are working on teaching the students about what can be put into the recycling bin, as well as what you can do with the items before you put it in the recycling bin. Students are learning the concept of reduce, reuse, and recycle.

The work that Touchet and Wynn are doing is the kind of action encouraged during Earth Day, which celebrates the planet and highlights ways of protecting health and the environment. This year, Earth Day falls on Monday, April 22. 

“The 5-year-olds in Wynn’s class have done some projects with categories and had to determine what could be reduced, reused or recycled, and she’s really done a great job in her classroom of setting up this kind of environmental mode,” Touchet said.

According to Touchet, they are  working on trying to get a consistent receptacle system in the classroom, so it’s easier for the students to take charge of it. At the end of the day, they pick up the bins and boxes from the classrooms and dump them into the blue rolling cart from the city. Touchet described it as a campus collaboration in its nascent stages. She also added that the facilities manager and a community member are helping out with these efforts. 

Because it’s a residential  recycling bin, they can’t put it out in front of the school, so a neighbor that lives right across the street is allowing the school to put the blue bin in front of his house on recycling day. 

“Our motto here at Harllee is ‘where greatness starts early,’  and I think that the great citizens of the planet contributing to keep things clean and protecting our environment is, at best, greatness,” Touchet said.  


You may also like