Awakening Environmental Awareness: Welcoming Spring With Young Children

With the snow melting away and the earth reawakening from its wintry slumber, Spring presents a beautiful, natural canvas for parents and educators to help children grow a deeper connection with nature. Instilling environmental awareness in young minds becomes not just an opportunity but a delightful responsibility during this season of renewal. Spring is not just a season; it’s a vibrant classroom under the open sky. For educators, parents, and environmental advocates, the fresh bloom of daffodils, the chirp of newborn chicks, and the feathery touch of new leaves provide a unique opportunity to help children connect deeply with nature. This connection is the seedbed from which a sense of environmental stewardship can grow.

As the frost melts and green shoots push through the earth, we are presented with a chance to engage young children in a dialogue about the magic and fragility of our environment. How do we craft this message to resonate with a younger audience? In a world where play often unfolds in virtual landscapes, the arrival of Spring beckons us to step outside. It’s a call to exchange screens for the tactile, immersive experience only the natural world can offer. Engaging in hands-on activities fosters respect for our local environment and instills habits safeguarding our world for future generations.

Spring is undeniably nature’s gentle nudge to remind us of beginnings, growth, and sustainability. It is an exceptional time to guide our younger generation through engaging experiences that foster respect for Mother Earth. We must ask, “How do we translate the arrival of Spring into meaningful action for children? The answer lies in creating natural opportunities that teach valuable lessons about nurturing and protecting their environment. When children interact with nature, they start to comprehend the significance of their roles as future caretakers and stewards of our planet. 

Planting the Seeds of Tomorrow Today – Creating Gateways to a World of Environmental Stewardship:

There is magic in planting and watching a seed grow, an experience that resonates with adults and children alike. Educators and parents can turn this Spring into a gardening adventure.

  • Plant a garden at home or school. Choose easy-to-grow flowers or vegetables and allow children to revel in the joy of harvesting what they have sown. Tending to a plant can teach responsibility and the rewards of consistent care. Spring heralds the ideal time to don gardening gloves and introduce children to the joys of planting. Whether the simplicity of sunflowers stretching towards the sun or the tangible reward of a ripe tomato plucked from the vine, the garden teaches patience, care, and life cycles. It is an opportunity to research plants that thrive in the local environment.
  • Organize or participate in a local community garden. These gardens are fertile ground for more than just plants—they sow the seeds of cooperation and solidarity within neighborhoods. Community gardening brings generations together. Young children and adults learn nature’s lessons together. Community gardens encourage healthy eating and provide a platform for children to contribute tangibly to their community. The pride that comes with nurturing a plant from seed to harvest is immense, and it’s a joy that every child deserves to experience.
  • Mini Farmers’ Market: Start a small farmer’s market where children can sell or donate the produce they grow.  This fantastic Spring activity increases environmental awareness and teaches children basic economic concepts and the pleasure of supporting their community through heartfelt efforts.

Connecting to History and Social Activism – Remembering the Roots with Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, and Larry Itliong

Springtime is a season of renewal and a period of reflection and learning, particularly about the origins of our food and those who cultivate it. It’s an opportune moment for teachers, educators, and families to engage in a dialogue about sustainability and understand how even modest lifestyle adjustments can lead to significant environmental impacts.

Learn of the hardworking individuals who ensure that fruits and vegetables reach your table. Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta revolutionized the agrarian landscape by advocating for farmworker’s rights. Their campaign for better working conditions and sustainable farming practices is a powerful lesson in treating all aspects of our environment—people and nature—with respect and dignity.

Books to Read Together

Amelias Road by Linda Jacobs Altman. Illustrted by Enrique O. Sanchez. The moving story of Amelia and her quest for a permanent home. As a child of migrant farm workers, Amelia Luisa Martinez is constantly moving from one farm to another. She has to adjust to new schools, a new homes and new friends. Her quest for home is a tribute to the resilience and resourcefulness shown by migrant children each day.

Cesar: Yes, We Can by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand. Illustations by David Diaz: César Chávezn life is recreated in a collection of are vividly re-created in a series of expressive poems. Where most biographies stick to the facts of what a person did, this one also touches on the man’s character and values. Children will learn about the important lessons Cesar Chavez taught others even amid great challenges.

Side By Side: The Styory of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez by Monica Brown. Illustrated by Joe Cepeda: Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez two extraordinary individuals would meet and spend the rest of their lives working tirelessly on behalf of migrant workers and children through nonviolent struggle — side by side.

These are just a few of the books that bring the life of farmers and farm workers to life. You can find more information at Coloring Colorado. Read the books before introducing them to children. Know the history and details

Engaging Questions to Ask Children:

  • What can we learn from the legacy of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta?
  • How do you think the children of farm workers felt when they moved from farm to farm?
  • How can we support local farmers and farmworkers in implementing sustainable practices?

Learning from Friends

I am fortunate to have friends who have made me aware of the migrant farmworker’s children. These friends are genuine activists and have dedicated their time and energy to creating early childhood environments where children can thrive because their identities are honored and respected. I want to share a short poem my friend Consuelo Espinoza wrote to say with the children before every meal. We still say this poem when we gather to celebrate our friendships.

Gracias a la tierra
Gracias al sol
Gracias a la lluvia….y Gracias a los Campesinos ….que nos traen nuestra comida….y Gracias a los que hicieron la comida
.
Thank you to the earth
Thank you to the sun
Thank you to the rain…And to the Farmworkers….Who bring us our food…And to the people that prepare it. 

Blooming Forward

A sustainable future begins with educated choices made today. By fostering conversations around the contributions of agricultural activists and incorporating practical, eco-friendly practices into our lives, we can instill lifelong values of stewardship and respect for our planet. This spring, take inspiration from Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, and watch as small changes grow into a collective movement for a healthier world.

Join the Movement

Flourishing environmental consciousness starts with a single action—one seed, one conversation, one shared experience at a time. This Spring, commit to facilitating these moments for the children in your care. Explore, discover, and create.

Now, its your turn. How do you help children celebrate Spring while caring for the earth. We would love to hear your stories! Write to us in the comments or tag us with your innovative projects. Let’s inspire each other through actions that help our children blossom into responsible, environmentally conscious adults.

Share your inspirations in the comments.