A well-maintained school provides a safe and attractive learning environment for students. A school beautification project can offer much more than physical improvements to the school buildings and grounds. Through cleaning the outside and inside of a school and by planting new flowers and shrubs, the students can take advantage of educational, personal development and community building opportunities.
The most visible results of school beautification projects are the changes to the physical surroundings. Removing graffiti from walls, picking up litter and garbage and planting new trees and flowers will help to create a clean and attractive learning environment.
A beautification project provides a unique and relevant teaching opportunity. The educational objectives of such projects could be that children learn about the history of the school and surrounding area, or that they make signs about the plants that they add to the school grounds.
There are many opportunities for personal development of the students within these projects. Participating in the project can instill a sense of pride and ownership for the school in the students. Any changes to the school, whether to the physical buildings or to the grounds, allow the children to develop a heightened awareness of the environmental issues surrounding the school community. Discussion of how the area came to be this way, whether by neglect, pollution or disrespect for property, will illustrate the effects of people on the environment. Developing solutions to improve the area and to keep it from regressing can create a sense of responsibility in the students and a desire to preserve the changes. Identifying the immediate natural environment and its characteristics as they plant trees, flowers and shrubs will connect the students directly to the earth.
Building community relationships is important and will last beyond the beautification project. Involve a variety of people in the project, starting with the school community of teachers, students and support staff, and moving outward to parents and the community.
Local businesses may donate supplies and local organizations, may offer to help. Developing a community sense of pride and ownership, and contributing to the improvement of the local environment, will establish lasting ties in the community.
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