Almost 2,500 BC citizens, most of them parents and educators, have signed a petition calling on the provincial government to preserve environmental education as a core element in the revised science and social studies curricula from kindergarten through grade nine.
"Our children need to understand their place in the wider world, including their place in nature and the effects of human action on their health and the natural systems around them,” said Bob Peart, executive director of Sierra Club BC. “When our education system stops teaching about nature, we are telling our children the web of life is not important—and that is a terrible message for us to send.”
The Ministry of Education is currently reviewing all curricula through its “transforming curriculum and assessment” initiative. Proposed changes in grades four to seven remove the study of the natural world and the diversity, complexity and interconnectedness of life, a period in child development when students are most open to the exploration of the natural world.
The proposed curriculum changes would shift emphasis away from life sciences towards physics, chemistry and geology; and within biology, away from animals, plants, habitats and ecosystems towards the human body and cellular biology.
Sierra Club BC wrote to the Minister of Education in January raising concerns about the proposed curriculum changes. To date there has been no response. Advocates for environmental education met with the minister in February.
Opposition education critic Rob Fleming tabled the petition in the B.C. legislative assembly on Tuesday, May 27.
The petition wording is as follows: “We the undersigned ask the Ministry of Education, through the offices of the Minister and Deputy Minister, to revise the proposed K to 9 curriculum to include environmental education “Big Ideas” in science and social studies for each grade level.”
© Coast Reporter