An Experience on Environmental Education Based on Respect-Reduce-Reuse-Recycle in a Village Primary School in the Marche Region, in Italy

Carlo Santulli, Tania Pallottini, Giuseppina Gentili, Claudio Ortenzi


The importance of environmental education is widely recognized worldwide: an important objective is that the citizens are accustomed to apply the best available practices in their life, while asking the administration and the government to gradually enforce measures leading to a reduction of the environmental impact and to a more sustainable lifestyle. This requires a formation starting at an early age: however, in Italy the relevant indications from the National Curriculum are still limited and do not suggest explicitly the performance of any practical activity, tailored on the specific school setting. This inadequacy of the Curriculum becomes particularly apparent in cases where other concerns are present, for example the areas in the Marche region affected by the 2016 earthquake: here, the need to resume a day-by-day routine put a kind of “damper” on other questions, such as environmental issues. This had an effect also in children’s life: on this question, school needs to take a stand, which is the objective of this study.  This work concerns an approach to environmental education in a multi-classes primary school context (age 6-10) in a small village school, located in the Central Apennine in Italy. This is performed through an experience carried out by investigating the behavior towards waste production of the community, as perceived by children at school. It is therefore articulated through the application of 4R (Respect, which encompasses Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) applying and extending the indications from the Italian National Curriculum. The project leads also to an experience of self-production of objects by the use of waste, to improve their awareness of the possibilities included in their upcycling. Feedback on the experience is finally acquired from the children and discussed, especially in the sense of creating future citizens with a more sensible and reasonable behavior towards the environment and leading possibly to zero-waste strategies in their family and work setting. The data were analyzed using thematic analysis and different themes about waste production were singled out.

Keywords: Environmental education, reduce-reuse-recycle, respect, DIY materials, good practices

DOI: 10.7176/JEP/11-15-04

Publication date:May 31st 2020

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