Do you consider the effect the repeated news stories of disaster and violence have on children? I know that many make dedicated efforts to refrain from exposing children to the issues that plague us today, but hidden discussions will do nothing to deter very open and frank discussions in the mainstream media and among peers. With the rate of occurrence of many weather patterns, this information can help children feel prepared and ready for what has just become another reality of life.
As a result of conducted recently on childhood traumatic events and their emotional toll on children, Gabbay, Oatis, Silva, and Hirsch, (2004) found another issue: wide ranges in rates of PTSD among children exposed to certain types of trauma, including natural disasters:
Considering the disasters that our globe faces today, and the ability for children to experience such events through the media, these life skills are critical. Teachers and parents must do their best to impart this information.
Terms Needed to Get Started
Sustainable, sustainability -- The ability to endure. More than a new educational "buzz" word; survival skills needed for coping with trauma related to disasters.
If you believe a child may be suffering from emotional distress, please contact profressionals for assistance immediately. Addressing the issue early provides your child with increased chances for finding successful coping mechanisms.
Sustainability skills are necessary for the continued health of our planet and all the life that relies on her for survival... including humanity. Of even greater importance is that learning more about the Earth's processes and how we can work in concert with them can be instrumental in providing children with tangible tools needed to make sense of what, I can imagine, is a pretty scary moment in history. Providing ideas to encourage them to see a way in which they can actively help solve these problems may ease stress-related concerns (Tyrrell & Elliott, 2012).
This collection of websites can help you start a discussion with your children when they indicate readiness. There are ideas for teaching many ways in which they can engage with Earth and life saving activities, programs, and organizations. CHECK BACK OFTEN FOR UPDATES!
UNESCO -- Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future is a UNESCO program for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.
ARKIVE.ORG -- Dedicated to the creation of a record of life on earth. A catalogue of more than 15,000 endangered species. An extensive collection of lesson ideas grouped according to age.
EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY -- Education for Sustainability (EfS) promotes "knowledge of, positive attitudes towards and suitable actions for, sustainability in relevant, enjoyable and creative ways."
SUSTAINABILITY GAMES ONLINE
POWER-UP -- Save Planet Helios from ecological devastation in an exciting, 3D, action-strategy game.
MY SUSTHOUSE -- Children can choose from three games that can help them understand sustainability in different environments.
STOPDISASTERS -- RECOMMENDED FOR OLDER STUDENTS is a game that teaches troubleshooting skills related to disaster recovery.
Join the discussion on Education Coffeehouse: Engage, Encourage and Educate Page on Facebook.
Professor Marsha Burson Bass, ABD
Photo credit: http://www.cfni.org/informer/tornado-warning-watches/