Sarah Dailly is a French student currently studying politics and international relations at the University of Sheffield. She started volunteering for HFTF very recently and is mainly involved in the schools workshops. For her first day, she participated in a primary school workshop in Sheffield and had the pleasure to meet the MP Gill Furniss. She wrote about her experience below.
Last Friday, I had the opportunity to get involved in a school workshop at Byron Wood Primary Academy in Sheffield. Prior to the workshop, engaging 30 eight-year-old pupils about climate change and its consequences did not seem to be an easy task. How would it be possible to engage an audience that young? At first, I thought that a two-and-a-half-hour workshop would be too long for the children and that they would get bored easily, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that they were truly enjoying the session.
The workshop was divided into two parts: firstly, activities related to climate change, secondly, focusing on the role of the Member of Parliament Gill Furniss and the environment.
We started with a quiz about the environment to give the children a deeper knowledge on the issue of climate change, whilst still having a good time and the children were certainly very happy to get involved! The team created a game with the aim of educating the children on the British political system, through this the pupils became aware of the role of their local MP in dealing with environmental challenges. To finish the first part of the workshop, the students made posters, drawing what they loved about the planet and how to protect it.
In the second half, we had the pleasure of being joined by Gill Furniss, MP for Brightside and Hillsborough, who listened to the students' poster presentations. Gill then talked about her role as an MP, asking the children what they thought she should do about current threats to the environment. It was positive and surprising to see how involved the children became, proposing lots of great ideas and questions. We ended the session with a quiz to calculate Gill's personal carbon footprint, another great way to demonstrate how climate change works. It was brilliant to collaborate with an MP who cares about the environment and I think this was important in that it demonstrated to the children how politicians could have an impact on climate change.
The workshop was a very exciting time for me, it was interesting to work with students who were fully engaged and enthusiastic about being involved in activities. The team had to make our explanations concerning climate change and politics simple and adapt our speech to make it easier for the children to understand, which was a very good experience for us.
I am very happy that we helped the children to learn about the link between the environment and politics and how individual choices can impact the environment. Gill provided a good example for the students because she clearly cared about the environment, really listening to what the students had to say, which created a positive atmosphere. I think it was important to have the involvement of an MP who is concerned by the issue of climate change because children are easily influenced by authority figures at this age.
The workshop was a success for us: in addition to the work we did with the students and the MP to promote the protection of the planet, the headteacher Mrs Wood said that she will do something about the schools plastic waste by promoting reusable bottles and ending the sale of plastic bottles within the school!
The schools workshop shows that by sharing our ideas and connecting people, we can all work together to protect the planet.