Improving recycling through education

Foundation and Intersenior Schools Curriculum Project

In a country where recycling was not an everyday activity, PRASA determined to change behaviour from as early an age as possible. In 2012, the Department of Education supported our proposal to have recycling incorporated in the maths curriculum. To stimulate and educate children in their formative years, the subject was introduced to the syllabus from the foundation phase (Grades R to 3) through to the intersenior phase (Grades 4 to 7).

Using paper as the medium to drive the recycling message, the rollout material comprised a teacher manual and learner worksheets. The project was successfully launched nationally at 7,778 schools, reaching 134,000 educators and four million learners. Judging by the number of schools actively involved in recycling, it is evident that this project has resulted in children being more aware of this all-important activity.

Paper meets the “classroom”, online

PRASA has partnered with www.e-classroom.co.za, a website that provides printable curriculum-based educational resources for children, their parents and teachers. It also provides educational content support on sustainability and recycling. e-Classroom currently caters for Grades R to 12, focusing on English language, pure mathematics, life skills, Afrikaans (as a first additional language), science, geography, history and economic and management science. Despite the project’s use of digital technology, e-Classroom founder Natalie Wood believes that paper has a fundamental role to play in education where responsible paper use and recycling can co-exist.

PRASA-sponsored recycling-focused material forms part of the life skills content for Grade 3 learners. Recycling as a curriculum topic ensures that learners grow up with an awareness of waste and an appreciation of the importance of recyclability.

Content has also been developed for Grade 1 – 6 mathematics (data handling) and English, using paper products as examples.

In October 2015, the Delta Environmental Centre and National Recycling Forum (NRF) unveiled a contemporary and refurbished walk-through display that helps visitors grasp how they can make a difference by recycling various materials and packaging. Situated in the heart of the beautiful 104-hectare Delta Park, north west of Johannesburg, the 40-year-old environmental centre provides education and training on the sustainable use of resources. The upgrade of the recycling display was sponsored by the NRF along with additional financial support from the Paper Recycling Association of South Africa, Tetra Pak, Plastics SA, the Glass Recycling Company, the Aerosol Manufacturers Association, the e-Waste Association and ROSE Foundation (oil).