Maria Montessori (acclaimed for the educational method that builds on the way children learn naturally and bears her name) said "Early childhood education is the key to the betterment of society". Montessori would advocate showing, not telling during the presentation of an activity or lesson i.e. Slow Hands, Omit Words
It's a genius idea, leveraging the child's natural born ability to learn by observation. Though, this thought weighs heavy on me. I know I'm being watched, I know all of me, will come out in my children, the good and the bad!
One of the things we are passionate about in our house is the environment. I don't just mean the thin layer of gases surrounding our planet. I mean; animals, light pollution, atmospheric pollution, noise pollution, food waste, forest management and other environmental pollutants. When it comes to bringing up children, the hardest thing to avoid seems to be plastic toys!
There is no doubt that plastic is very useful, it’s cheap, durable, comes in a wide array of types for all your needs, and products manufactured mostly of plastic can come off the production line at ferocious speed! You can recycle many plastics, and recycling is becoming more prevalent.
However, worldwide recycling has historically only increase by a rate of 0.7% per year and doesn’t appear to be accelerating. We still dispose of 80% of our plastic waste in someway, be it incineration, land-fill or some kind of waste mismanagement. Of course, you don't have to throw your plastic thing away. Maybe someone else can get use out of it? This is often the case with plastic toys and there is a small feeling of satisfaction when you liberate a plastic toy from the bin so it can be used a little longer. When all is said and done, it still seems plastic still has a long way to go before it can truly clear up its act.
But let's not give up on plastic yet! Plastic is great for keeping our children safe, can you imagine even driving your car, bambino's in the back, with no car seats? On the other hand, plastic fills the stomachs of animals, particularly sea life, giving them reduced food capacity and loss of appetite. It is not uncommon for these poor creatures too starve to death.
O.K.! Plastic does have its useful sides, saving children from serious harm or even death in car crashes is a worthy cause. But it also has an ability to cause death, moreover, death to a creature that never really realised the benefit of that plastic in the first place. The scale of death in the natural world has seen all time highs recently, while the picture is very complicated, it is clear human pollutants have a big part to play. So what do we do? I’m dubious to call plastic itself the enemy at this point, it’s all about what we do with it, that is what matters.
There are a lot of statistics out there about plastic and what part nations play in the global quagmire of it all. But I can’t help thinking, really, the buck stops with us. We need to be thoughtful about how we use plastic. For example, you can’t expect a tennis player to give up her plastic strings. It would completely ruin her game! Nevertheless, do you really need that flimsy, cheap looking plastic thing that you just know your child will destroy in a matter of weeks.
Have you ever suffered the despair of finally finding the none plastic product you need online, only to have it delivered wrapped in several layers of the offending stuff? I urge you to complain about items packaged in plastic. A child’s toy or learning resource does not need to be kept fresh.
For me, I will continue to do my best to avoid it where necessary, but I will be thankful of that self locking, child proof plastic lid on the paracetamol bottle. I won’t cheapen my house with piles of plastic toys that make my heart sink when I think of their ultimate destination, or the fact that many of them will still be in the environment when my children’s grand children are at a ripe old age! I will do my part to protect the future for the sake of my family and everyone who adopts the world from me.
There is a fantastic book that we read to our children, and it ends so beautifully. I think it fits well here too.
"Peace and love and hope and trust, all the world is all of us" - All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon and Marla Frazee
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